Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Years of Psychiatric Counseling Sessions are Now Available Online to Any Hospital Employee

At the recent conference by Patient Privacy Rights a speaker spoke from personal experience about the risk of electronic medical records.

A woman told how her session with a psychiatrist (200 pages of discussions about depression, debt, and childhood sexual abuse) became available to any healthcare worker who wanted to read them across a sprawling chain of medical facilities.
"It’s one thing to give your psychiatrist the right to share your information [with certain doctors], it’s another to enter your data into a system that makes it available with relative ease to an unknown number of physicians who may be involved in your care. ." - Dr. David Blumenthal, Partners’s chief health information and innovation officer and former national coordinator for health information technology for the Obama administration
This is the challenge as providers in separate healthcare networks begin to share patient records online. While the goal is to better coordinate care and cut costs, there are significant risks of unauthorized access to patient information.

Healthcare organizations are concerned about putting restrictions on who can view a patient's records. Should an individual have a medical emergency that person's medical recordss must be instantly available to those providing life saving care.

But without an effective HIPAA privacy breach detection capability, there is the risk of people snooping on sensitive personal information without any clinical reason.
Download a white paper on patient privacy breach detection. Learn how to proactively identify unauthorized breaches of patient data privacy, even by authorized users - with no hardware and no on-site software.
Sources:
(a) As records go online, clash over mental care privacy - The Boston Globe, June 21, 2012

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