Essay about We Can but Should We

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We Can, But Should We?
Chamberlain College of Nursing
NR361 Information Systems in Healthcare
Kathleen Fabian, Professor
Fall B 2010

Radio frequency identification, also known as RFID, is a breakthrough in technology and could just be the next big step in surveillance. Yet, how far is one willing to go to be sure that all of their past history is accurate? This sounds a little like George Orwell’s 1984; a chip inserted into one’s skin, embedded with data that can be transferred to a reading device and be read? Someone could be able to know every little thing about another person just by transferring data; sounds a little scary. RFID isn’t just for tracking patient’s data, according to Daniel Sieberg’s Is RFID tracking you?, “it
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However, one of the biggest problems in healthcare is medical records; most of it is done on paper, which is hard to manage and easy to misplace.’s article explains, “pushing for the strongest encryption algorithms to ensure hackers can’t nab medical data as information transfers from chip to reader to secure database, will help address privacy concerns.” Still, if the strongest encryptions do not work, the most talented hackers may be able to read one’s private medical history. “The kind of RFID that is becoming widely used has no power source, and can send information over tens of feet…RFID's potential for misuse and abuse is quite trivial,” (Sieberg, 2006). Yet, the companies that will make and use RFID will have a responsibility to be sure that the technology is safe and secure.
The Food and Drug administration has approved the chip. When the chip was approved, according to Joseph Brownstein of Do Chip Implants Protect or Violate Privacy? , “it mentioned potential problems, including electromagnetic interference, failure of the chip to function properly and adverse bodily reactions.” The FDA’s letter never described the probability or severity of these risks. Brownstein interviewed Silverman, who had an RFID chip implanted years before it was approved by the FDA, and Silverman explained he never experienced any of the potential risks. Yet, there are less invasive ways to accomplish the same goal. The Medic-Alert
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