How Secure Are Centralized Electronic Medical Records Data Bases? How Safe Is YOUR Private Information?

While the idea is a good one on the surface, again I have to wonder what the consequences will be down the road.

A determined hacker could… not could but would…..manage to break into such a data base. Nothing is impossible, nor is anything totally safe.

Privacy notices be damned, they all say the same thing and all also say they can change their policy at will without notice. I’m sorry, telling me after the fact is useless. That’s like dropping a bomb somewhere, and then notifying the people a day or two later to take cover.

Junkfood Science digs deeper and uncovers the latest.

Regular readers know that the race for our personal health information has been going full steam ahead by government agencies, insurers, pharmaceutical companies and those selling “health and wellness.” Participating in those health risk assessments and voluntarily providing information about our health and lifestyles onto online personal health records allows our private information to be shared, sold and used, all without our permission. And it can and will be used against us.

Today the Cleveland Clinic, which says it has the online personal health records of 120,000 people, announced that it has partnered with Google and will turn over the records on up to 10,000 people, to start, “to help create national access to electronic medical records.”

“The partnership with Google is an example of true innovation in health care which brings value to patients and providers,” said Delos M. Cosgrove, M.D., President and Chief Executive Officer, Cleveland Clinic, and member of the Google Health Advisory Council.

As JFS readers know, no online health record service can protect the privacy of your information or let you control who has access to that information or how it may be used. When you volunteer personal information on your health, diet and lifestyle to participate in a “health risk assessment” or an online health record service — whether it’s to get a free gym bag, discounts on insurance premiums for participation, or you believe it provides a convenient service and will give you personalized health information — the ultimate price is your privacy and ability to make your own health decisions.

Online health record service databases

As you’ll remember, last year, Google created an online health record service, called Google Weaver. It asks consumers to share personal information about their health and lifestyle habits, family history, health history, lab test results, etc. You can even add your pharmacy records. Creating a database with detailed information about your health and lifestyle behaviors will hold considerable commercial value and vast marketing potential for Google. Google Weaver also offers custom “Health Guides,” information that’s been selected for you to “manage” your health care.
“Many consumers have this deeply held belief that their health information, no matter where it travels, is protected in the same way as when you have a doctor/patient relationship,” said Pam Dixon, World Privacy Forum executive director and co-author of its consumer guide. In reality, consenting to have your information shared to a noncovered system would likely be viewed as demonstrating that you had waived your privacy privilege. Especially worrisome, she said, is the potential for how your personal health information will be sold and used for marketing purposes.

While nationalized electronic health record databases under HIPAA may not be something an individual feels empowered to stop, they can choose to not voluntarily turn over their private health information. Gellman and Dixon closed by saying that one option is to maintain your own records:

You have the right to obtain a copy of your health records from your health care providers and health insurers, and this is something that is generally a good idea. There are software tools that you can use on your own computer to help keep your records organized, or if you wish, you can store your files in other formats, such as paper or on discs. The American Health Information Management Association has a helpful and useful site on this topic,



~ by swfreedomlover on February 25, 2008.

One Response to “How Secure Are Centralized Electronic Medical Records Data Bases? How Safe Is YOUR Private Information?”

  1. As per I know in OmniMD, Personal Information is encrypted for transmission, and the servers on which we store Personal Information are kept in a secure environment. We utilize 128-bit encryption, which matches the highest industry standards and Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) technology for all data transmission.SO, it is very secured

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