Is EHR safe? Anthem Breech affects several million

The recent breech at Anthem that resulted in the access of the personal information of over 10 million people makes us go back and ask “how safe is EHR?”  It has been a long debate since Medicare has been trying to mandate the use of EHR by all Medicare providers by introducing a penalty program that became effective this year.  Any Medicare provider that does not demonstrate meaningful use of EHR will receive a 1% penalty for services in 2015.  The argument is that EHR makes health records more accessible which will save lives and that it decreases paperwork for the provider.  However, many do not agree with those arguments.  There are many smaller offices that are now required to use EHR.  While there are some free EHR systems available, most cost quite a bit of money.  For smaller offices, or part time providers it simply may not be feasible.  And of course there are some patients who absolutely do not want their records in an EHR system.  There are a variety of reasons patients may want to avoid their records being on such a system.  One of them being safety.  Anthems recent breech just strengthens this argument.

“Anthem was the target of a very sophisticated external cyber attack,” according to Anthem president and CEO Joseph Swedish.  And this is not the only recent breech.  Sony was recently hacked as well.  Even though this did not affect the medical field it shows that information on the internet is vulnerable.  Breeches such as these are unfortunately becoming all too common.  Which brings us back to the original question, is EHR safe?  Unfortunately there is a price tag on patient data and medical data brings a high pay off.  This makes hacking into an EHR system even more desirable.  There is really no way to make it so that you are not vulnerable at all.  Most businesses use internet in some way or another.  Credit card companies, banks, and department stores are just a few.  So your information is out there.  But does EHR open you up to even more of a risk.

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