If your medical information is lost or stolen from your doctor, don't expect to hear about it

If your medical information is lost or stolen from your doctor, don't expect to hear about it

Summary: Only 17% of medical practices are likely to report an incident of medical identity theft.

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TOPICS: Security
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If your medical information is lost or stolen from your doctor, don't expect to hear about it

Going to a new doctor with my husband is always a bit of a dicey experience. First, he's not thrilled with anyone fussing over him. And second, he's particularly conscious about the issues of identity theft. Because a doctor's office always wants to take copies of a drivers' license (along with other detailed personal information), he gets a bit cranky.

Fortunately, he's a healthy dude and fairly comfortable with our general practitioner, so we don't have to experience this particular push-me-pull-you particularly often.

That's good, because what I'm about to tell you would help him work up a full head of steam. According to a study by the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society, a full third of hospitals and medical practices said they had had an incident of medical identity theft.

Most never reported it.

It gets far worse when you look at individual medical practices. According to the study, only 17% of those working in a medical practice -- and that's not only doctors' offices, that's labs, outpatient services, and other facilities -- only 17% said they were likely to report an incident of medical identity theft.

Working in a medical facility is challenging work, but as we move forward into the digital age, our medical practitioners better step up to the plate and care as much for our identities as they do for our innards.

Topic: Security

About

Denise Amrich is a Registered Nurse, the health care advisor for the U.S. Strategic Perspective Institute, and a mentor for the Virtual Campus at Florida's Brevard Community College.


Nothing in this article is meant to be a substitute for medical advice, and shouldn't be considered as such. If you are in need of medical help, please see your doctor.

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11 comments
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  • RE: If your medical information is lost or stolen from your doctor, don't expect to hear about it

    Sounds like HHS needs to step up their HIPPA training (and enforcement). A violation of the privacy act is bad enough... willful neglect in reporting violations is another thing completely!
    jsmiller1
    • RE: If your medical information is lost or stolen from your doctor, don't expect to hear about it

      @jsmiller1
      +1
      Ram U
    • RE: If your medical information is lost or stolen from your doctor, don't expect to hear about it

      @jsmiller1
      +1
      LoverockDavidson_-24231404894599612871915491754222
  • RE: If your medical information is lost or stolen from your doctor, don't expect to hear about it

    It is the hospitals and clinics responsibility to keep information safe. So they should offer to pay for identity theft protection when a patients records are lost. The thing is, media outlets love to get their hands on these stories which then prevent people from visiting that clinic which then result in huge losses.
    Anti Fanboy
  • RE: If your medical information is lost or stolen from your doctor, don't expect to hear about it

    GEE WHEN DID YOU DISCOVER THIS, GUESS YOU ARE FIRST WAKING UP TO THE WORLD OR YOUR JUST UNEDUCATED AS TO WHAT IS REAL IN THE WORLD IS REALLY LIKE.
    GO LEARN SOMETHING AND GET A LIFE...
    howmed@...
  • Medical PHI/PII losses

    Over 5 million Personal Health Records were lost in the first half of 2011 according to my research see: Patient Data, the Crown Jewels - http://www.burgessct.com/2011/07/patient-data-crown-jewels-mayo-blog/ -- based on the above it would appear this number should be higher. The second half of 2011 isn't shaping up any better.

    Information handling will have to be a mainstay of every medical practice today & tomorrow.
    Thank you for writing this piece.
    Christopher
    burgessct
  • and this doesn't even count the common abuses

    And this doesn't even count the very common abuses of medical personnel spreading your personal private information to others in the club who have no need to know it.

    HIPPA was actually a back-handed privacy-breach legislation, to ALLOW MORE PRIVACY VIOLATIONS, so that they (Siemens, GE...) could roll out digital records abuse systems with impunity to them. It knowingly breached the principle that the information belongs to the patient, not to the institution, doctor, etc., and that keeping it for additional time, or using it for a different purpose from what the patient had in mind, should require that patient's explicit permission, each and every time.

    There are ways to keep respect for personal ownership of digital info, but they went in the opposite direction.
    Professor8
  • RE: If your medical information is lost or stolen from your doctor, don't expect to hear about it

    I worked in medicine for about 25 years, 15 as a consultant. First of all, if computer records are stolen, unlike physical objects, the originals are still there. Most practices and hospitals won't even notice it happended and hence won't report it.

    Secondly, medical records are mostly mundane and boring. In by far the most cases they're not worth stealing. I remember one case of a man having a sore throat which he was very worried he had acquired in an unusaul way. When the receptionist had to type out the report back to the referring GP, she came to me, very upset, telling me that same patient had tried to get a date with her as he filled out his forms before seeing me. That was, at best, amusing, but it still would have not been worth stealing. My speciality was ENT. I suppose gyneacologists handle jucier stuff.
    itadmin@...
  • Medical, Dental and Legal Professions Clueless

    Most private practise medical, dental and legal offices don't have a clue about computers and hire outside so-called "expertise" to get them setup and connected.

    BIG MISTAKE!

    I watched as someone hacked into my doctor's, dentist's and lawyers computer systems and display confidential information about me within 15 minutes.

    Big Brother may be watching but so can others.
    dhamilt01@...
  • gmeipdq 43 hcs

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  • RE: If your medical information is lost or stolen from your doctor, don't expect to hear about it

    Hiii.. I'm totally agree with you. I think, it should be the responsibility of doctors to keep your documents safe. I've lost my medical documents recently by my doctor and now I've no option besides to complain about it to my doctor. Although he is sure to bring my documents but I'm not sure about it.
    http://www.xpressmedchiro.com
    Xpressmed