At my Oct. 2011 post "Still More Electronic Medical Data Chaos, Pandemonium, Bedlam, Tumult and Maelstrom: But Don't Worry, Your Data is Secure" and others in this query link on medical record privacy, http://hcrenewal.blogspot.com/search/label/medical%20record%20privacy I wrote:
"Don't worry, your medical data's safe."
In Jan 2012 I then posted about Joseph Conn of ModernHealthcare.com's article "2011 Closes on a Note of Electronic Medical Record Privacy Breach Shame."
Don't worry, though; the IT industry's leader, finance, to which medicine is always compared, has gotten closer to getting the situation under control:
MasterCard, Visa confirm credit card data theft described as 'massive'
March 30, 2012
By Bob Sullivan
Law enforcement officials are investigating what appears to be a massive theft of U.S. consumers' credit card data, MasterCard and Visa confirmed Friday. The computer security expert who first reported the theft said it might involve as many as 10 million MasterCard and Visa accounts, making it one of the largest known credit card heists.
"MasterCard is currently investigating a potential account data compromise event of a U.S.-based entity and, as a result, we have alerted payment card issuers regarding certain MasterCard accounts that are potentially at risk," that association said in a statement. "Law enforcement has been notified of this matter and the incident is currently the subject of an ongoing forensic review by an independent data security organization."
The theft was first reported by well-known computer security journalist Brian Krebs on his blog, KrebsonSecurity.com. Krebs said the crime involves compromise of a credit card payment processor — a "middle man" that handles transactions between retailers and banks [like these middlemen in medicine? - ed.]
The name of that institution is unknown, but processors have long been a target of identity thieves because of the enormous amounts of data they control. In 2008, Princeton, N.J.,-based Heartland Systems was hacked, exposing tens of millions of credit card account numbers to theft.
Krebs reported that hackers had access to the unknown processors data from Jan 21 through Feb 25, and were able to siphon off enough data to easily create counterfeit cards. His sources called the leak "massive."
... Gartner security expert Avivah Litan said she's been told that the stolen data is already being used on the street by identity thieves.
"I’ve spoken with folks in the card business who are seeing signs of this breach mushroom. Looks like the hackers have started using the stolen card data more recently," she said.
Read the whole article at the link.
Don't let this trouble you, however. The problem is getting closer to a solution with each mega-break in.
They'll have it fixed any day now, so have no fear telling your EHR-equipped doctor all your private and most sensitive medical business.