Putting Patient Privacy at Risk
The shift to electronic health records, information exchanges and data mining promises to improve patient care, but often it's happening without our knowledge, and consumer watchdogs fear our medical histories could fall into the wrong hands.
UnitedHealth Group Inc. has recalled software used in hospital emergency departments in more than 20 states because of an error that caused doctor’s notes about patient prescriptions to drop out of their files.
Two years ago, Jay Radcliffe discovered a software bug in his insulin pump that could allow hackers to take remote control of the device. The diabetic and computer security researcher went public with his findings at a hacker conference after the manufacturer, Medtronic Inc., didn't respond to him.
There are few things as creepy in online marketing as digging into someone’s health history, without their knowledge, to advertise to them. Yet that’s precisely what New York-based Epic Marketplace is accused of doing.
When Jay Radcliffe went public last year with his discovery that some insulin pumps can be hacked, he didn’t expect it would take a year to get a meeting with the company that makes the vulnerable products.
As hospitals digitize patient records and amass huge amounts of data, many are relying on companies such as Microsoft, SAS Institute Inc., International Business Machines Corp. and Oracle Corp., whose data-mining technologies can help them detect patterns and improve medical care.
Fewer than 1 in 10 doctors used electronic records last year to U.S. standards, according to a survey that shows the challenge facing a multibillion-dollar effort to digitize the health system for improved patient care.
States can routinely collect DNA samples from people arrested for a serious crime, a divided U.S. Supreme Court ruled, limiting privacy rights and giving police a powerful investigative tool for solving old crimes.
The Obama administration will push hospitals and software providers to share patient data in an effort to maximize the benefits of electronic records, the U.S. coordinator for health-information technology said.
The Faroe Islands, a tiny, windswept land halfway between Scotland and Iceland, is so barren its 50,000 inhabitants import almost everything except fish and
sheep. Now it wants to leap to the frontier of genetic medicine.
Many U.S. states lack laws to protect people from harmful use of their whole DNA transcripts, or genomes, and should work with the federal government to provide consistent protection, presidential advisers said.
Faster medical care. Lower costs. Fewer treatment errors. These are the promises of electronic health records, which are increasingly replacing paper files at doctors' officers across the U.S. and around the world.