Healthcare IT

The downside of EMRs

…is the potential for data breaches. Experian’s 2015 industry data breach forecast notes the following:

We expect healthcare breaches will increase — both due to potential economic gain and digitization of records. Increased movement to electronic medical records (EMRs), and the introduction of wearable technologies introduced millions of individuals into the healthcare system, and, in return increased, the potential for data breaches.

Accessing an individual’s medical information (as well as billing information) has the potential to be very lucrative. Although large insurers and provider networks may have the capacity to safeguard EMRs, will small physician practices, clinics and hospitals also have the capital and know how to protect patient information?

Further, there is an even easier way to “hack” a person’s identity.

An individual’s Medicare card — often carried in wallets for doctors’ visits — contains
valuable information like a person’s Social Security number (SSN) that can be used for fraud if in the wrong hands.

EMRs offer the promise of seamlessly communicating patient information across providers. However, the easier it is for providers to share information across networks, the easier it will be for hackers to access this data as well. EMRs benefits likely still outweigh these cost, but providers should not embark on an EMR strategy without taking into account how to address the security of these data.

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