Target: Barack Obama, President of the United States
Goal: Keep our medical records protected and out of hackers’ hands
Just a few years ago, doctors kept paper charts and printed medical records for every patient they saw in their offices. But as electronic medical records become more popular in exam rooms across America, people are concerned about how safe their data really is. If hackers have been able to steal personal information from prominent retailers such as Target and Home Depot, what makes electronic medical records safer than stored shopping accounts?
Even medical professionals who haven’t entirely switched over to electronic medical records typically have some patient details in their computer systems. However, records for day-to-day patient care are becoming more and more widely used. America’s Affordable Care Act does not require doctors and hospitals to use electronic medical records, nor does it include provisions for offsetting digitization costs. Yet despite this meager progress, emergency room doctors can rarely pull up patients’ electronically medical records when they are in an accident and unable to provide basic information. Although some states allow doctors to pull in all of a patient’s electronic files, those instances are still few and far between.
Privacy experts suggest that the healthcare industry is so far behind the financial and retail industries in terms of encryption techniques and response times that it is increasingly vulnerable to hacks. Hackers from China recently broke into the Franklin, Tennessee Community Health System and stole personal data for around 4.5 million patients. Sign the below petition to urge President Barack Obama to adapt the Affordable Care Act to keep our medical records data safe from hackers and available to emergency professionals who require access.
Dear President Barack Obama,
The Affordable Healthcare Act doesn’t require doctors and hospitals to use electronic medical records, offer any incentives for using them, or include enough provisions to keep patient data safe. Considering all of the recent hacking attempts at America’s financial institutions and retail outlets, it’s more important than ever before to safeguard patient names, social security numbers, and medical conditions.
I am urging you to work with technical, privacy, and healthcare experts to ensure that the medical data of American patients doesn’t fall into the wrong hands. Experts have found that the healthcare industry seriously lags behind the financial industry and even many retail stores in terms of encryption and hacker safeguards. Medical care is a private matter and should stay that way into the future.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Elmien Wolvaardt Ellison via Flickr