And They Want To Make Your Medical Records Electronic

There is no doubt that computers have changed our lives and the information storage and retrieval have made life much easier (until something goes wrong). Information can be shared all over the world and that information sometimes means the difference between life and death.

The government wants our medical records to be electronic. There are provisions in the health care takeover to make that happen. It would have advantages because patient information could be shared between medical professionals and tests would not have to be repeated because results would be readily available.

The problem is, electronic information is always under attack. SPAM is a minor nuisance and we all deal with it but identity theft is a crime that, in the electronic age, allows people with evil motives to destroy lives. There is an entire industry devoted to stopping identity theft and it is an industry that makes lots of money because the demand is high. Identity theft can come from anyone. Chuck Schumer was involved in stealing Michael Steele’s financial information.

Identity theft is not the only concern. People have a lot of personal information stored electronically and medical records contain some of the most sensitive information about us. HIPAA was passed under Bill Clinton to help protect electronic medical information because it contains things that most people do not want everyone knowing. HIPAA has not been the be all, end all so imagine how bad it would be if everyone had electronic medical records and they were breached?

The Federal Government had its files of House ethics investigations compromised because of carelessness. A junior ethics staff member was working on the files at home and they were obtained through peer-to-peer networking software.

The document was leaked to The Washington Post after a junior ethics staff member saved it on the hard drive of a home computer. The staff member, who had information sharing software, didn’t realize that someone could download the file but was subsequently fired anyway.

A House staff member, speaking anonymously because he was not authorized to discuss the matter, said the committee employee’s actions were inadvertent but violated House rules requiring the safeguarding of official documents. Breitbart

These are the people who want to “safeguard” our sensitive medical information.

While it is commendable that Congress actually looks at the potential violations of members (though it rarely does anything about them) it is fair to state that it does not want the information about who is being investigated compromised (and certainly not made public). Members of Congress do not want their names associated with ethics violations because even if they are cleared, it looks bad. There are members of both major parties on the list (should it surprise anyone Murtha is one of them?) and I am sure none of them wanted the list made public.

But it was and all because a staffer, who was allowed to work on the list at home, made a mistake. What would happen if this kind of mistake occurred with our medical information?

This is not the first breach the government has had with information it is supposed to safeguard. The VA had a laptop stolen (when it allowed someone to take it home to work) and it contained the personal information on a huge number of veterans. The FBI lost a number of computers containing classified information and thumb drives stolen from service members who carelessly left them in computers in Iraq were found in street markets. They contained sensitive information.

What guarantee do we have that this kind of carelessness will not happen with regard to our medical records?

Big Dog

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3 Responses to “And They Want To Make Your Medical Records Electronic”

  1. Barbara says:

    Some places have already started this. Patient First has it electronically. When I went there the second time they pulled up on the screen what I was there for the first time. Also the lab there enters on the PC what their tests showed.

  2. Big Dog says:

    Well most places have access to their own electronic records and PT First can probably look at all within their organization. I doubt the local hospital could look at them.

    The ones at the private companies are still vulnerable but a breach would affect a smaller group than if the entire country’s records were all together.

  3. Blake says:

    I believe it was Ben Franklin who said, “A secret can be shared by two people, as long as one of them is dead.” I am sure he would be able to apply that statement (and others) to this potential fiasco- in my mind, this is just another way for the government to get ahold of info on every person- possibly to determine your genetic viability to the State.
    With John Holdren in as the “Science Czar”, I am wary of anything in this direction.
    There has already been one Dr. Mengele- we do not need another.