We are all familiar with the saying “health is wealth” – in the sense of that being well is something valuable. But, on one level, your “health” may be challenged in ways you might not have thought about. For instance, identity theft, or a record of your health having been hacked at some third party and “out there” for all the world to see.
“Sixty-two percent of baby boomers, in fact, use technology to access their health records, while 50 percent engage with health IT tools to request prescription refills, and 43 percent to ask their providers care-related questions.
When asked what was the preferred platform of interaction with a medical group, 35 percent listed online patient portal; phone calls, 29 percent; emails, 21 percent; mobile application, 8 percent; and text messaging, 7 percent.”
All well and good harnessing technology as some seem to want to do. But reflect on the vulnerabilities where details of your health might be captured.
And this can hardly give one any comfort:
“The Federal Bureau of Investigation sees increasing pressure from hackers trying to access patient information from providers.
Recent events suggest that the pressure may be rising, as offers to sell patient records with protected health information on the “Dark Web” market represent a new level of threat for healthcare organizations trying to protect health information.
In late June, a hacker known as “The Dark Overlord” reported the theft of nearly 10 million patient medical records from providers and a major insurer and put them on the Dark Web market where hackers conduct buy and sell data taken from a variety of sources. As of this writing, the records have not been sold, and the seller may be having trouble selling the treasure trove of protected health information.”
But it gets worse:
“Market pricing on the Dark Web in 2016, according to cybersecurity vendor Clearwater Compliance ranges up to $60 per complete medical record.
With this new market comes another new threat. Hackers can go through the records they have stolen, identify healthcare CEOs and other top leaders who have medical records they would not want to see made public, and blackmail them, Cunningham warns.
Despite that scenario and other threats, he doesn’t see the healthcare security environment changing much. The politically correct answer would be to say that security efforts will change drastically with providers and payers locking down their systems and encrypting data to the point where a thief cannot steal data even if he or she gets into the systems. The reality, Cunningham bemoans, is that the theft and sale of data will be an increasing concern that healthcare organizations will need to deal with.
Understaffed and underfinanced healthcare information technology and security units are simply overwhelmed with cyber threats; they mediate one threat and move on to the next, but don’t have the training, manpower or money to go as deep as they may want to or should. They’re just hoping their organizations “don’t end up in the newspapers,” Cunningham says.”
One might well ask what the individual can do. Simply acquire…. and use HealthBank – a totally secure data key, recording all of one’s personal medical information (totally encrypted if desired) totally off the cloud.
Securing one’s medical information on a data key retained in one’s possession will provide peace of mind. But there is another material benefit too. A potential “lifesaver”, as the Mayo Clinic describes it……
“Having a personal health record can be a lifesaver, literally. In an emergency you can quickly give emergency personnel vital information, such as a disease you’re being treated for, previous surgeries or hospitalizations, medications you take, drug allergies, and how to contact your family doctor.
- Track and assess your health. Record and track your progress toward your health goals, such as lowering your cholesterol level.
- Make the most of doctor visits. Be ready with questions for your doctor and information you want to share, such as blood pressure readings since your last visit.
- Manage your health between visits. Upload and analyze data from home-monitoring devices such as a blood pressure cuff. And remind yourself of your doctor’s instructions from your last appointment.
- Get organized. Track appointments, vaccinations, and preventive or screening services, such as mammograms. In fact, a recent study found that when parents used personal health records for their children, the children were more likely to get their preventive well-child checkups on time.”