Digital medical recording is becoming a mandatory process in the coming years and the issue of protecting and storage of these data has been raising concern among internet security experts. On one hand the electronic access to the medical record has made the life much easier for managing the vital information about the patients, on the other hand the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) enforces some provisions to ensure the security of the data which eventually increases the cost of storing the information.
It has been in the news that in one case hackers took control of Lake County, northern Illinois servers and stole emails and electronic medical records. However in this case the hackers did not simply disappear but they demanded ransom to return the information back to the servers! The irony of this case is that they “demanded” payments!
It is very well predicted that many of the stolen medical records which may include very personal information could be abused. Many of these records include social security numbers, address, data of birth, and even some has driving licence information. The case of identity theft can also be made in these situations as the aforementioned data can simply provide back-doors to hackers to to abuse the information for financial reasons.
Similar issues apply to dental offices as these practices also gather personal information about patients. These information are generally stored in a server or even a simple computer in the office without any contingency or back plan making the records more vulnerable. A simple vulnerability assessment can help these offices to further protect their patients against medical record loss. It is important then to use HIPAA compliant backups of the information to at least provide the opportunity to recover the vital information if needed.
You may read more about the information related to online backup and data encryption at my blog and contact Azadeh Khorram for more information. You may also follow the twitter account.