An organization that stands for health freedom for all is concerned that health records may not be safe online.
Recent findings from Melamedia LLC show more than 347,000 HITECH breaches since 2009. HITECH is the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act enacted as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, and the idea was to move toward Electronic Health Records (EHRs) and meaningful use of health information technology.
"Without a doubt, there is a connection between breaches and EHRs," thinks Twila Brase, president and co-founder of Citizens' Council for Health Freedom. "Before the EHR mandate, much of the healthcare system still used paper records, and if you wanted to get somebody's health information, you had to grab a file or grab a chart on the hospital floor. But with Electronic Health Records, now you can sit in a cubicle across the ocean or in the next state and use technology to try to breach the data system and then grab not only one record, but thousands, millions in some cases, of records."
Most of the breaches since 2009 involved fewer than 500 people, but 2,200 or so ended up on the "Wall of Shame" at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights.
"The Wall of Shame is just the nickname of the website where all breaches that affect 500 patients or more must be reported to the federal government" explains Brase, author of the upcoming book Big Brother In The Exam Room: The Dangerous Truths About Electronic Health Records. "And so you can find out where the breach took place, when it took place, how many patients, [and] what kind of data was acquired or potentially acquired."
But she believes there is a small chance to resolve this issue.
"It's entirely possible that if you throw more money at it and you get more people who are cybersecurity experts, then that will solve the problem. But there's a lot of job postings that are not being filled because it's like they put the system in place before there was even the capacity labor-wise to protect it," she says. "There just aren't enough people even trained that can fill those positions."