More on medical data theft

October 29, 2005

Yesterday I wrote about the doc in Switzerland who was excited about using his iPod for viewing medical images and I commented about the potential for sensitive information getting out. I got lots of attention for that article via e-mail asking for a bit more information on clinical data theft so I looked through my notes and saw this article on medical data theft.

Just in time for Halloween, here’s one scary scenario (sort of blackmail):

Consider a recent case at a university hospital in California, where the doctor’s notes from a patient visit were first sent to a transcription service company in Florida, which decided to subcontract to another firm in Texas. The Texas firm subcontracted the work yet again, ending up with a woman in Pakistan. This Pakistani woman became upset because her payments for her services were late, so she decided to send an e-mail to the university hospital, threatening to post the medical records on the Internet if she was not paid immediately. It might sound like a nightmare, but it is the reality of outsourcing today.

Even if The Exorcist movie didn’t scare you, the following should make you keel over:

In a recent undercover operation, reporters successfully purchased personal information from employees at an Indian outsourcing firm for only $7.00 each. These data sellers clearly did not understand the importance of confidentiality for those to whom these data belonged.

Duh!

All our secrets for $7. I thought I was worth at least $10.50. :-)

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