Is your healthcare data safe? That’s not something most people think about on a regular basis. We take for granted that our medical records, family histories, insurance coverage and the rest of the data associated with our health is protected carefully by those who create and store it.
But the truth is that we are struggling right now as a society to figure out how to secure digital information–both legally and against the threat of data hacking, theft or loss.
The United States’ recent adoption of new healthcare laws and procedures includes requirements for hospitals and other care providers to digitize medical records. Digitization of health data is cost-effective, efficient and offers a wealth of benefits. Eventually, patients will be able to log in and access their entire medical history in one place, helping them become more informed consumers of healthcare. Some states, like Massachusetts, have already taken major steps in this direction.
But having our healthcare data readily available for positive purposes online means it’s also readily available for those who are interested in exploiting or misusing the information.
Recent technological advances have made medical data both richer and more valuable–and thus more dangerous in the wrong hands.