Are Your Medical Records Safe?


If you haven’t heard,  Community Health Systems was cyberattacked and the hackers took information on more than 4 million patients.  This company is from Tennessee so the information is pretty redundant, as everyone is related, but that is besides the point (relax, it was just a joke).  The company is notifying patients affected by the attack and offering them identity theft protection services but who cares, the damage is done.  You cannot unspill that milk.  So, in the future, will your electronic medical records be guaranteed to be safe?  The answer is ABSOLUTELY NOT!  Something to be said for those old paper charts, huh?

Douglas Farrago MD

Douglas Farrago MD is a full-time practicing family doc in Forest, Va. He started Forest Direct Primary Care where he takes no insurance and bills patients a monthly fee. He is board certified in the specialty of Family Practice. He is the inventor of a product called the Knee Saver which is currently in the Baseball Hall of Fame. The Knee Saver and its knock-offs are worn by many major league baseball catchers. He is also the inventor of the CryoHelmet used by athletes for head injuries as well as migraine sufferers. Dr. Farrago is the author of four books, two of which are the top two most popular DPC books. From 2001 – 2011, Dr. Farrago was the editor and creator of the Placebo Journal which ran for 10 full years. Described as the Mad Magazine for doctors, he and the Placebo Journal were featured in the Washington Post, US News and World Report, the AP, and the NY Times. Dr. Farrago is also the editor of the blog Authentic Medicine which was born out of concern about where the direction of healthcare is heading and the belief that the wrong people are in charge. This blog has been going daily for more than 15 years Article about Dr. Farrago in Doximity Email Dr. Farrago – [email protected] 

  3 comments for “Are Your Medical Records Safe?

  1. Melinda
    August 27, 2014 at 4:17 pm

    How about this true scenario: a friend of mine has a medical malpractice claim against Dr. X. The lawsuit has survived numerous snares due to a top-notch defense attorney with my friend being currently unrepresented by an attorney and has still remained active and open for 8 years and is now scheduled for trial (meaning the claim looks to be very valid).

    Now my friend’s primary care doctor, Dr. A., went to work for a corporation that a few months later hired Dr. X. This gives Dr. X–lawsuit in progress–personal access to my friend’s medical records and potentially even the opportunity to change them. (all doctors in the system can access all patient records.)

    Just think about that one… And what if a co-worker doesn’t like you and wants to get YOU into a malpractice suit?

  2. Jim
    August 25, 2014 at 11:06 am

    My doctor/hospital recently went to a common portal system where they all download into one site all your information and I’ve worried about it since I signed up.

  3. August 23, 2014 at 9:23 am

    It becomes troubling as two massive invasions of privacy are on the chute, and will be rolled out when the public will tolerate them, in my humble opinion.
    The ubiquity of videotaping will bring cameras to the examination room and surgical suite. Since our society no longer cares to DO anything, but prefers to CRITICIZE what has been done, the temptation is irresistible. Did that doctor REALLY ask the question “what was your grandmother’s shoe size and birthweight?” If not, FIE on them, that’s a CPT upcoding thoughtcrime! Smile and wave whatever is nearest the camera, patients – your encounters will be filed, along with the sturdy EHR, in top-secret security. Nobody who does not own a computer can get access to your examination video!
    The second one is the RFID, the radio-frequency identification system now ubiquitous in the world. Your US passport has it; often, so does your pet. All it takes is a swipe from the magic wand, and the RFID chirps out its identification. You have no physical sensation that it is being interrogated. The little gizmo in modern cars that monitors tire pressure – 4 RFID’s reporting to the central computer in the car. The temptation again is irresistible – a ubiquitous ID implanted under the skin that can be read from a short distance – containing your demographics, previous medical history, blood type (of course!) and your current medications. It will be stored in a simple and easy format, and perhaps even encoded in some way that can allow any caring health professional to read it (after checking off the little box on the computer screen, “I am a certified health professional who is allowed to read this information.”) Check-in is a snap, just swipe and scan! This information will be strictly protected – only those who say they are your health professional can read it! Of course, so can naughty people on the subway or at the bank, or that foreign government you are going to visit. [Single women on contraceptives may wish to veer clear of Saudi Arabia after they are implanted – that’s proof you are a harlot. It’s your head.] Inappropriate use of protected health information is of course illegal, in America.
    Trust your video exams will be kept strictly confidential. Trust your doggie-chip RFID will be untouched. PT Barnum said that “nobody ever went broke underestimating the ___ of the American people.” [I’ve heard many words used there.]

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