When you get medical treatment, the information that goes into your file is extensive and can contain a whole lot of personal information like your name, address, Social Security Number as well as your medical history. That private stuff should be kept from the prying eyes of others, which is exactly the opposite of what Illinois prosecutors say one company did when allegedly dumping medical files in the trash.
Sharing a patient’s medical record with anyone other than the patient is a big, fat no-no. Not only can companies found to be leaking the super-sensitive information be fined millions of dollars, but it opens them up to a range of lawsuits. And one Ohio medical center has found itself in that exact situation. [More]
Personal information doesn’t get much more personal than your medical history. Ensuring your medical records are secure remains a top priorty for the Federal Trade Commission as they settled their 50th data security case on Friday. [More]
Electronic medical records are kind of cool: they help your doctors beam your prescription records back and forth from pharmacies and are supposed to save everyone money and time. What you may not realize, though, is that digital records are easy to share, and what’s easy to share is easy to sell. Somewhere, your most private medical data is probably for sale. [More]
Alex is 24 years old and was laid off last year. He’s trying to sign up for a high-deductible health insurance plan from Humana One, but they’ve rejected him because he’s got a mess of health issues: “At my last checkup I mentioned occasional knee pain, occasional indigestion, and the fact that I experienced palpitations extremely rarely.” Or as Human describes it, “a medical history of bursitis, tendonitis, osteoarthritis, palpitations and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).”
For three years now, reports The Tennessean, the owner of a solar panel company in Indiana says “confidential medical faxes” have been sent to him by doctors throughout Tennessee. His fax number is apparently very similar to the one for the Tennessee Department of Human Services, but although he’s contacted the errant doctors’ offices, as well as reported it to the DHS and to the state’s governor’s office, they keep coming.
This time, they’re medical records. From Computerworld:
The tapes and disks were taken home by the employee as part of a backup protocol that sent them off-site to protect them against loss from fires or other disasters. That practice, which was only used by the home health care division of the hospital system, has since been stopped, said health system spokesman Gary Walker.
Really, taking the tapes home wasn’t that bad of an idea, although he probably should have dropped them off at a cave or something. The real issue is the inevitability that your information will (has!) already travelled from one of the hundreds of databases that already holds it into the hands of someone who can abuse it.