Raising Awareness on Medical Record Security

I recently read an article about how Starbucks customers use fake names when ordering (I don’t go to Starbucks, so I had no idea you have to give your name). The comments section revealed why: People are concerned about revealing too much personal information and setting themselves up for potential identity theft.

I bring up this story because of a report from SafeNet that came out today that finds only 52 percent of Americans are concerned with the security of their personal medical records

Think about it. People are more concerned about having their first name written on a coffee cup than they are about who has access to their medical records

This same survey found that a vast majority of people are concerned about the security of Social Security numbers and banking information (both over 80 percent of the 2405 people surveyed) and of general contact information (56 percent) – the same information that is found in most medical records.

Other findings of the survey include:

  • 42 percent of Americans are unsure how their medical records are stored
  • 11 percent do not know who has access to their medical records
  • More than a third of Americans (38 percent) feel they are not at all familiar with medical data privacy regulations currently in place in the U.S.

I have a lot of follow-up questions I’d like to see answered: Do people want to know about the security surrounding their medical information? And if they do, how best to explain it to them? Should those who store medical records provide that information to all patients somehow? Who should patients talk to about the security of their medical records? Seriously, I’d like to know how my doctor’s office handles security, but I have no idea who to approach to ask. If I want to know about the security and privacy measures of the online store I’m shopping in, I can find that information somewhere (albeit often buried) on the company’s website. That’s not a possibility with the doctor’s office. 

So, that leads to another thought about this survey: Would people want to know more about security if they knew where to get answers? 

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