Black markets in everything, electronic medical records edition

by on July 2, 2014 at 12:49 pm in Economics, Medicine | Permalink

As health data become increasingly digital and the use of electronic health records booms, thieves see patient records in a vulnerable health care system as attractive bait, according to experts interviewed by POLITICO. On the black market, a full identity profile contained in a single record can bring as much as $500.

There is more here, none of it reassuring.

prior_approval July 2, 2014 at 1:01 pm

Why worry about an ‘atack’? In Germany, it is the pharmacies that sell data to the drug companies – illegally, it must be noted, but it is not anything resembling an ‘attack,’ it is just off the books business as usual. ( http://www.zeit.de/2013/35/apothekendaten-pharmafirmen-gerd-glaeske – German only )

Why would America, with its considerably laxer laws, be a target of an ‘attack’? Unless someone honestly believes that American companies involved in health are less willing to violate those laxer American laws than German companies.

ibaien July 2, 2014 at 1:57 pm

the libertarian dream of the unregulated free market continues.

Roy July 2, 2014 at 2:15 pm

Ues with mandatory electronic records, accessible to the internet, as required by the state.

The Other Jim July 2, 2014 at 6:13 pm

The good news is that as the State takes over more and more of US healthcare, there is absolutely no way they will use these records for political blackmail purposes.

anon July 2, 2014 at 6:31 pm

There oughta be a law!

So Much for Subtlety July 2, 2014 at 6:01 pm

This seems a non-problem given they have trouble citing a single example of anyone committing fraud with an electronic record. No amount of cyber security will stop a younger brother taking someone else’s health care card if he is a douche.

But the libertarian argument is stupid:

Most hospitals and doctors have gone from paper to electronic health records in the space of a few years while gobbling up $24 billion in federal incentive money paid out under the 2009 Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act.

So the story here is really that the Feds p!ssed away an eleven figure sum on implementing something they had not thought through properly and now they are fining people eight figure sums because it worked out exactly as any child could have told them it would.

HHS, meanwhile, is stepping up with more aggressive enforcement of security breaches. Its Office of Civil Rights, which investigates privacy violations, has levied $10 million in fines in the past year. Last month, it fined New York Presbyterian Hospital and Columbia University Medical Center a combined $4.8 million for disclosing the personal health information of 6,800 individuals, including patient status, vital signs, medications and laboratory results.

I suspect that is not even fraud but a sloppy medical trial.

Meanwhile German police are trying to track down who sold Michael Schumacher’s medical records.

mulp July 2, 2014 at 7:41 pm

Well, how does that all compare to the Target and the undisclosed or effectively unreported data security hacks that produced millions of person records that sold for as much as $500 each?

Note the credit card companies are mandating all retailers to spend billions of dollars replacing millions of point of sale hardware terminals or face penalties in the future.

All of this was predicted in the past.

Clearly, the only way you should do business with Target or Amazon is with paper. Sears became a big retailer using only paper based transaction, so Amazon and Target should have stuck with the paper based that worked for Sears for its first half century in business.

So Much for Subtlety July 2, 2014 at 7:50 pm

Up to? That is the usual media bullsh!t that says they don’t have a clue. In fact has anyone actually reported a theft from Target using any of the credit card details that were hacked? It looks like a bored teenager rather than a master criminal. Not that that is any better.

By all means, sensible people use cash when detailing with retail. So what else is news? The point is that medical records do not need to go electronic, there are no particularly good efficiency savings if they do (unlike Amazon), it is mandated by the government more or less – and your medical records are a lot more sensitive for most people than whether or not you buy tacky clothing at Target.

Medical records going electronic is something consumers do not want, that most doctors do not want, that only serve the bureaucracy and keep more bureaucrats employed, and are massive intrusions into privacy – worse than anything the NSA is doing. Needless to say their only saving grace is that they are wildly expensive and hard to implement.

prior_approval July 3, 2014 at 3:05 am

Actually, French police, who have asked for help from Swiss and German police.

prior_approval July 3, 2014 at 3:06 am

Actually, French police, who have asked for help from Swiss and German police.

Duplicated, or more funkiness in a system that has been quite stable for a while.

We live in interesting times July 2, 2014 at 6:51 pm

Great Britain pissed away I think 11billion trying to upgrade their record-keeping.

ChrisA July 3, 2014 at 3:55 am

Wouldn’t it be great if drug companies stole your records so they could analyse them to work out what diseases you were susceptible to so they could sell you drugs?

Axa July 3, 2014 at 6:16 am

It’s not about stealing data on drugs or illness. Most people consider a hospital a secure place. It’s just that when you use your credit card in a hospital the information is more vulnerable compared to using it with Amazon or WalMart. ATMs and computers are less monitored, hackers can profit a lot that hospitals are late to the party.

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