BP #7: Protecting Patient Information in the Age of Breaches

Over 1,000 health care organizations have had issues with health care breaches within the last few years, along with a massive amount of private data leaks. This is causing an ethical problem worldwide in regards to how things are being handled at this point. The data being stolen is as valuable as the social security numbers of many people, addresses, and other important, private health records.This article explains just how easy organizations make it to allow breaches, with almost 90% of all organizations having had at least one significant breach in the last few years. Therefore, individuals are taking the hit to this problem with about one third being directly breached by the release of their own personal information.

Breaches can occur by a number of ways, most commonly by unauthorized protecting storage apps, back up disks being stolen, and being hacked due to a weak password. Statistics say that about 500 records have been stolen containing high amounts of valuable information in the last few years.

This relates highly to ethical topics in many categories, but one I see most fitting, is the idea of a physicians duties to their patients. It is the job of the doctors and medical staff to ensure 100% of the files and data created for individuals are protected. This includes providing limited access to these files unless you are someone of high priority to the case, and access to these documents is necessary for proper care. Lots of documents created for these patients are easily access by others and this creates for untrustworthiness due to the high volume of potential users. If many people have access to these types of things, they will feel more able to exploit this information knowing there are lots of others who could have also done it.

So often we hear about these breaches, yet so little is done in return. These individuals who have been hacked and had personal information stolen, get little to no compensation for this. What are health care organizations going to start doing in order to prevent these things from happening? However they choose to act on this issue, it needs to be done immediately in order for individuals to feel safe and comfortable sharing personal information with their health care providers.



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