What’s the Problem with EHRs? 347,000 Data Breaches Since 2009
Citizens’ Council for Health Freedom’s Twila Brase Releasing New Book on EHRs Next Month: ‘Big Brother in the Exam Room’
PAUL, Minn.—The implementation of the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act in 2009 was a blow for health freedom. HITECH, embedded within the Recovery Act, provided at least $27 billion to establish a National Health Information Network for data sharing without patient consent. HITECH requires doctors and hospitals to use government-certified electronic health records (EHRs) or face financial penalties.
For those who oppose the government-mandated EHR, such as Citizens’ Council for Health Freedom (CCHF), HITECH was a technological and medical privacy nightmare.
Now, according to a new report out just this month, more than 347,000 data breaches have taken place since 2009, the year HITECH was implemented and the use of EHRs began to accelerate—by force.
Is there a connection between these breaches and EHRs? Twila Brase, co-founder and president of CCHF, says yes.
“We regularly see headlines regarding data breaches and ransomware attacks of electronic medical record systems, which is concerning for every American, because much of our private medical information is now computerized and contained online in EHR vendor server farms—otherwise known as the cloud,” Brase said. “Already there have been 347,000 reported breaches since 2009, when doctors were forced to begin buying and using electronic health records or face fines. Nearly everyone in the health care industry, from the largest hospitals to midsize contractors to small private practices, has had to retool the way they do things because of HITECH. These changes have not only been financially challenging, but patients’ private medical information has become vulnerable, as evidenced by these more than 347,000 data breaches.”
According to Health Information Privacy/Security Alert, a total of 347,090 breaches of patient data have been reported over the past nine years, since HITECH was implemented. Nearly 345,000 of these breaches affected fewer than 500 patients each, but 2,267 of them appeared on HHS’ Office for Civil Rights “Wall of Shame”— a publicly accessible data breach portal that displays breaches of protected health information (PHI) affecting more than 500 individuals.
Because HITECH established the reporting rules associated with breaches of patient data, the two are inextricably linked. Organizations that experience breaches of patients’ PHI through loss, theft, hacking and more must report breaches of more than 500 individuals to the portal. The report went on to say that since “The Wall of Shame” was implemented, approximately 178 million individuals have been affected by major breaches.
Besides data breaches, hacks and ransomware attacks, the problems with EHRs are many, and Brase explores these issues in her new book, “Big Brother in the Exam Room: The Dangerous Truth About Electronic Health Records.”
Available for pre-order next month and published by Beaver’s Pond Press, “Big Brother in the Exam Room” will show how Congress forced doctors to install a data-collecting surveillance system in the exam room. It includes hard facts from over 125 studies and reports about the impact of EHRs on privacy, patient care, costs and patient safety. Brase’s extensive work also exposes how patient treatment decisions are controlled and tracked by the HER; shares specific steps back to freedom, privacy and patient safety; and communicates why Americans must act now.
For more information about CCHF, visit www.cchfreedom.org, its Facebook page or its Twitter feed @CCHFreedom. Also view the media page for CCHF here. For more about CCHF’s initiative The Wedge of Health Freedom, visit www.JointheWedge.com, The Wedge Facebook page or follow The Wedge on Twitter @wedgeoffreedom.