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Medical Records Security More Important than even Credit Card Data

Author: Medical Record
by Medical Record
Posted: Dec 17, 2015

Important healthcare information resides in patient medical records, which is indispensable with regard to patient welfare and also in connection with medical claims evaluation and processing. This clearly signifies the need for accuracy in medical records. Given their legal and medical importance, security is vital for medical records. Personal injury cases, insurance defense litigation, auto accident and mass tort cases all rely heavily on the medical chart review process. Information crucial to developing the case is obtained from reviewing and summarizing the medical records. Lawyers handling these very important patient documents exercise extra caution when they utilize outsourced medical review services for purposes such as organizing, indexing, and summarizing medical records.

Americans Do Not Attach Due Importance to Medical Record Security

Though medical record security is paramount, do Americans attach due importance to it? It seems they don’t. A survey conducted by Vormetric, a data security firm, found that 89% of Americans did not consider medical records among the top three types of personal data they worry could be compromised by hacking. Here are the top concerns of most Americans.

  • First in the list come social security numbers – 84% are worried about having their social security numbers stolen.
  • Credit card data is important to 73% of those surveyed
  • Financial account data is a top concern for 71%

Among other concerns figure personal contact information, social media accounts, work e-mail, Wi-Fi or internet log in and online dating accounts.

The average American is far more willing to share his/her healthcare information with outsiders than they are to share their social media or purchasing activity. Though many of them are willing to maintain their medical data online and share it among others, only half of them have ever viewed it themselves! This finding is by Truven Health Analytics, a healthcare analytics company that surveyed more than 3000 U.S. adults. Here are some interesting facts that emerged.

  • 75% of those surveyed said their primary care physician has an EMR system installed.
  • 68% were fine with sharing their data for purposes of research.
  • However, some of those surveyed did not want to share their medical information. Statistics is as follows:

>> 16% did not want to share their data with their health insurer

>> 14% didn’t want to allow hospitals to access their medical data

>> 11% didn’t want to share it with physicians

>> 10% didn’t want to share medical records with their employers

Sensitizing the American Public on the Need for Medical Record Security

Americans need to be more concerned about their medical data being stolen because as per a study by the Ponemon Institute, one could end up spending around $13,500 to resolve the problems caused by medical identity theft. Medical data is said to fetch a price that is many times higher than even credit card information on the black market.

It is indeed distressing that the American public is not sensitized to the danger of having their medical data stolen. This information could be misused to apply for loans and credit cards as well as fraudulent medical claims. It is important to educate the people on this matter and make them familiar with effective ways to protect sensitive healthcare data. If the file is maintained in an encrypted format, the data cannot be accessed by those who don’t have the key to decode it. Encrypted data is the only way to defy hackers and ideally it should be combined with strong access controls.

Attorneys and other legal professionals, who need to retrieve and analyze medical records as mentioned at the outset of this article, must have state-of-the-art security measures in place to ensure data protection. A safe and effective way of managing the all important medical review process is to entrust it to an HIPAA-compliant medical review company with a proven track record in the industry.

About the Author

Managed Outsource Solutions (Mos) has providing value-added medical record review services for the medico-legal industries.

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Author: Medical Record

Medical Record

Member since: Jun 17, 2015
Published articles: 30

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