Editorial: Digitized Medical Records Are Unsecured Threat

Driving the trend is the black market. Whereas thieves might pay a buck for a stolen credit card number, a full-identity profile from a medical record can fetch up to $500, experts say.

by Pittsburgh Tribune-Review / July 25, 2014

In the Obama administration's dash to digitize medical records (at a cost of $24 billion), government experts didn't factor in a hardly niggling detail: security.

Cyber crime experts say a major records breach is all but inevitable, Politico reports.

Hackers using a Chinese IP address already have tapped into a Texas health system, exposing the data of more than 400,000 people.

Since 2009, with implementation of the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act, more than 31 million Americans have had their medical records exposed to theft or unauthorized disclosure, according to Politico.

Driving the trend is the black market. Whereas thieves might pay a buck for a stolen credit card number, a full-identity profile from a medical record can fetch up to $500, experts say. And unlike a credit card, which can be canceled, the information in a medical record cannot be revoked.

Given the nature of cyber crime, it's incomprehensible that the electronic medical records mandate would neglect a meaningful security component. So now Health and Human Services is levying fines for security breaches. How comforting.

The barn door, opened by government, will not be easily closed.

©2014 The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review (Greensburg, Pa.)

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