According to an article in Reuters, your information from a healthcare hack can sell for $20 or more on the black market. Why, you ask? Because that information is much easier to use to paint a whole picture of a person and their identity than the previously targeted financial data. They can use the healthcare data to receive medical care, obtain prescriptions, and use your social security number and date of birth to obtain credit in your name. With the financial sector locking down their information in response to the many hacks of late years the healthcare industry is an easier target as they have not been previously worried about hacking.
In a recent Washington Examiner article, it was reported that:
Hackings of data from healthcare firms and doctors jumped over 1,800 percent from 2008-2013…
Reviewing Health and Human Services reports of data breaches where more than 500 patients were exposed, the Brookings Institution found that the number went from just 13 in 2008 to 256 in 2013, impacting 9 million in 2014.
Healthcare systems that are hacked and have the weak security can/will be fined up to $1.5 million dollars – which should serve as incentive to tighten up that security.
What does this mean to you? It means you should keep an eye on your credit, listen to the news for reports of hacking, and you might even ask your health care provider and other healthcare entities if their security is appropriate. Of course, most of those clinical providers on the front end (those doctors & nurses) probably can’t answer the question as it lies deeper in the organization or operations, such as the information technology department, so don’t be too upset if they can’t tell ya about it.
Found via AHRQ (Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality), this Markle presentationn gives some quick information on the view of the public and the clinical providers (physicians) as to the principles for personal health information protection.
The poll shows opinions that are very close. What I find interesting is that the public finds the sharing of information less important than the physicians. Personally, I find this to be very important. With my own health care complicated and my experience with my father’s extremely complicated health it would be ideal for the flow of information to be more streamlined. While it is important to verify information at each visit to confirm any changes, it would be wonderful when you see a new doctor or specialist for them to have your basic health information and history. In emergencies this information could be vital in the case of unconsciousness or any inability to respond.
Another point that I found interesting is the lesser importance to physicians for measuring the progress on healthcare quality and safety. With so many of these measures now tied to dollars it would make sense for them to be more interested. In addition, I would like to know how my healthcare or my family’s healthcare compares to the average – of course, we would all like our healthcare to be above the average.
The AHRQ website is full of information – both for the patient and for the general healthcare community.
After starting this blog way back when I let it slip this past year – just couldn’t spend the time on it and my interests were blooming elsewhere last year. Now I’m thinking of getting back into it… So here is a new start on the path. I want to focus more on how healthcare information technology (HIT) affects, benefits, and interacts with the public – you and me.
There are many ways that I see it as having an impact on the public. There seems to be a triangle going on – how it helps the care of the individual, the community, and the clinician. All of these play together and are not separate – they feed each other. I’ll start us off with a couple of links to give you some quick benefits:
This link leads you to a graphic – which is also good for sharing – to visually show you the 10 benefits of HIT as established by Internet Innovation Alliance. The focus covers all of the three aspects that I mentioned before and a few others that sometimes seem more relevant to some people – for instance, efficiency and cost savings.
The second link is from the National Journal and talks about how the increased coverage of broadband in the US can benefit healthcare. What I found interesting is that there are dollars being invested nationally and in some states to tie the increase of broadband with the delivery of HIT services. My latest discovery is the state of Arkansas which is very well into the process of helping their state achieve goals tied to broadband, healthcare, and the HIT sectors. More on that topic to come…