Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Kaiser's Stolen Medical Records

I praised Kaiser Permanente the other day for the openness of electronic communication between it and its members. I wrote that I loved the fact that patients could e-mail their physicians, access their lab results and other medical records, and handle other matters online.

But the downside of this and of electronic medical records in general is illustrated by a recent story of a Kaiser employee who had a hard drive with medical files of over 15,000 Northern California Kaiser members stolen from her car parked in front of her house. She was subsequently fired for her negligence, but the information she lost could well be in malicious hands.

A Kaiser spokesperson maintains that this was a "low risk" breach that did not include social security numbers, but I wouldn't want ANY of my medical or financial information ending up with unauthorized individuals, and I hope that this never happens to me, and that Kaiser and other health providers can find more foolproof ways of protecting their members' health information while still allowing them the wonderful access to it that I have with Kaiser Permanente.

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