Friday, March 30, 2012

Don't Worry, Your Electronic Medical Records Are Getting Safer With Every Passing Day

At my Oct. 2011 post "Still More Electronic Medical Data Chaos, Pandemonium, Bedlam, Tumult and Maelstrom: But Don't Worry, Your Data is Secure" and others in this query link on medical record privacy, I wrote:

"Don't worry, your medical data's safe."

In Jan 2012 I then posted about Joseph Conn of's article "2011 Closes on a Note of Electronic Medical Record Privacy Breach Shame."

Don't worry, though; the IT industry's leader, finance, to which medicine is always compared, has gotten closer to getting the situation under control:


MasterCard, Visa confirm credit card data theft described as 'massive'
March 30, 2012
By Bob Sullivan

Law enforcement officials are investigating what appears to be a massive theft of U.S. consumers' credit card data, MasterCard and Visa confirmed Friday. The computer security expert who first reported the theft said it might involve as many as 10 million MasterCard and Visa accounts, making it one of the largest known credit card heists.

"MasterCard is currently investigating a potential account data compromise event of a U.S.-based entity and, as a result, we have alerted payment card issuers regarding certain MasterCard accounts that are potentially at risk," that association said in a statement. "Law enforcement has been notified of this matter and the incident is currently the subject of an ongoing forensic review by an independent data security organization."

The theft was first reported by well-known computer security journalist Brian Krebs on his blog, Krebs said the crime involves compromise of a credit card payment processor — a "middle man" that handles transactions between retailers and banks [like these middlemen in medicine? - ed.]

The name of that institution is unknown, but processors have long been a target of identity thieves because of the enormous amounts of data they control. In 2008, Princeton, N.J.,-based Heartland Systems was hacked, exposing tens of millions of credit card account numbers to theft.

Krebs reported that hackers had access to the unknown processors data from Jan 21 through Feb 25, and were able to siphon off enough data to easily create counterfeit cards. His sources called the leak "massive."

Gartner security expert Avivah Litan said she's been told that the stolen data is already being used on the street by identity thieves.

"I’ve spoken with folks in the card business who are seeing signs of this breach mushroom. Looks like the hackers have started using the stolen card data more recently," she said.

Read the whole article at the link.

Don't let this trouble you, however. The problem is getting closer to a solution with each mega-break in.

They'll have it fixed any day now, so have no fear telling your EHR-equipped doctor all your private and most sensitive medical business.

-- SS


Anonymous said...

When violations are common, such become the standard of commerce and care. The penalties are insufficient for inferior safeguards.

Demand that your doctor to keep your records on paper only.

Anonymous said...

Sorry as a physician I am not allowed BY LAW to have paper records. Call your congressman and senator

InformaticsMD said...

Re: Anonymous April 1, 2012 10:12:00 AM EDT

Sorry as a physician I am not allowed BY LAW to have paper records.

Untrue, but Medicare penalties will start to accrue in a few years.

-- SS

Unknown said...

I agree that Electronic Health Records are getting safer. There is news that there is progress of EHRs working on a private cloud-like network. Its amazing news that companies are using the most out of this technology. EHR Companies are focused to bring quick access to medical records, that will inevitably save lives.

Unknown said...

I have been doing research on electronic medical records software. I am glad to see that the problem of keeping items safe is on everyone's mind. I have always worried about keeping information safe. I am glad things like personal medical history actually will be kept safe. Thanks for sharing!