Essay on Privacy Concerns With Electronic Medical Records

1908 Words 8 Pages
Prior to the Information Age, medical records were all stored in folders in secure filing cabinets at doctor’s offices, hospitals, or health departments. The information within the folders was confidential, and shared solely amongst the patient and physician. Today these files are fragmented across multiple treatment sites due to the branching out of specialty centers such as urgent care centers, magnetic resonance imaging, outpatient surgical centers, and other diagnostic centers. Today’s ability to store medical records electronically has made it possible to easily send these files from one location to another. However, the same technology which can unify the fragmented pieces of a patient’s medical record has the ability to also create …show more content…
Although there is a significant difference between an EMR and EHR, both are subject to the same type of security breach, and therefore for clarification purposes are both refereed to as EMRs in the context of this paper. Security breaches of EMRs vary from someone without consent viewing the patient’s information, to a hacker using the information to steal one’s identity. According to Privacy Rights Clearing House, more than 260 million data breaches have occurred in the United States, including those of health related records. Approximately 12 percent of data breaches involve medical organizations (Gellman, 2012). According to Redspin, a provider of Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act risk analysis and IT security assessment services, more than 6 million individual’s health records were compromised during a period from August 2009 and December 2010 (Author Unknown, 2010). A provision of the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act requires all breaches affecting 500 or more people to be reported to the Department of Health and Human Services. This reporting is to be accomplished within 60 days of discovery. The Redspin report covering the period above involved 225 breaches of protected health information. The amount of people with access to an individual’s health record creates concern with confidentiality. According to the Los Angeles