New Medical Threat Patient Identity Theft

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Is it Safe?

    You have got one HUGE decision to make in 2011. Because of "Obamacare", you must decide on an Electronic Health/Medical Record system for your practice, or possibly suffer penalties from Uncle Sam. Literally HUNDREDS of EHR systems have emerged in less than a year, hoping to lure you with "FREE" systems!  Before you sign on to ANY system, if you are not protecting your patient's privacy, you are in for the new wave of law suits!   Here is the first in a ten part series of down-to-earth considerations that will quickly narrow the field.

Part 1 - Online, ASP systems -  "Is it safe?"

     If you have ever seen the 1976 movie "Marathon Man", that line will immediately bring back the image of Dustin Hoffman having a dental drill penetrate the nerve in his tooth.  Today, a single word can cause that vision of horror...WikiLeaks. In recent weeks the world got a taste of how vulnerable data is as major websites were taken down. Are your considering subscribing to an ONLINE EMR/EHR program?  Is it safe?

     Consider your legal, HIPAA obligation to secure patient information. Patient records contain the largest amount of data on which identity thieves thrive. You are not just entering an automobile part description online somewhere.  You and your staff are entering the Social Security Numbers, birth dates, credit card information, life-threatening illnesses and more that your patients have entrusted to you.  This information is just waiting to be plucked by these predators. You can certainly guess why there are several FREE EHR companies online.  They cannot wait for you to start handing over your information to them.  Makes sense, right?

     Then there’s the question of WHO has access to your data? Without your knowledge, is your patients' data being outsourced to a country which may not have strict laws concerning patient privacy? What if the company you are relying on gets shut down for illegal business practices, hiring practices or even bankruptcy? Will you be able to recover a usable backup of your data files? Even if you had backups, you'd quickly have to scramble to get that data back into a program you could actually use. Oh, and let’s not forget the other vulnerabilities of hurricanes, tornados, floods and power outages!

     Although you may never “WikiLeak-proof” your system, reducing your Internet activity will lessen those risks. Eliminating online EMR services from your list just greatly narrowed your hunt. By selecting an EMR system installed locally on your own computer, you will be greatly reducing your vulnerability. Your patients will breathe easier too!  Let's talk.   Part II - Click Here
 

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