The ease of transmission is one of the most substantial benefits of EHR, allowing medical professionals to access a patient's full history before determining a treatment. However, the simplicity of this process also has its drawbacks — particularly if you entrust your clients' records with the wrong EHR provider. Recently, Bloomberg Businessweek shed light on an alarming practice that may put EHR information in the hands of data-mining companies.
The news outlet reports that this hand-off occurs when EHR software providers share their data with state health agencies, who in turn sell it on to university research programs and, increasingly, data-mining organizations. For the state health agencies, this is a longstanding practice that enables them to fund their own research. However, as the director of Harvard's Data Privacy Lab, Latanya Sweeney, explained in an interview with Bloomberg, once these digitized documents have been distributed, it can be alarmingly simple to track down an individual's data with relatively little information.
So who is buying this information? Typically, the source notes, it is being snapped up by organizations that provide metrics for manufacturers of medical devices and prescription drugs, as well as health insurance companies.
Patients may be used to their debts being handed off from one financial institution to another — though this practice is also an incredibly contentious one. However, as awareness spreads of the possibility that their medical data could be shared, they will most likely seek out medical professionals who can offer some degree of reassurance about where there information will end up. By selecting a chiropractic EHR provider that does not participate in these sell-offs, you can safeguard the privacy of your patients and ease the concerns they may have about this system. Before making your decision, don't be afraid to ask your prospective chiropractic software company about their data-sharing practices.