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Medical Information Security

Author(s): William C. Figg, Ph.D. | Hwee Joo Kam, M.S.

Journal: International Journal of Security
ISSN 1985-2320

Volume: 5;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 22;
Date: 2011;
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Keywords: Medical Identity Theft | Electronic Patient Record | Information Crime | Information Security

Modern medicine is facing a complex environment, not from medical technology but rather governmentregulations and information vulnerability. HIPPA is the government’s attempt to protect patient’sinformation yet this only addresses traditional record handling. The main threat is from the evolvingsecurity issues. Many medical offices and facilities have multiple areas of information security concerns.Physical security is often weak, office personnel are not always aware of security needs and applicationsecurity and transmission protocols are not consistently maintained.Health insurance needs and general financial opportunity has created an emerging market in medicalidentity theft. Medical offices have the perfect storm of information collection, personal, credit, banking,health, and insurance. Thieves have realized that medical facilities have as much economic value asbanks and the security is much easier to crack. Mostly committed by insiders, medical identity theft is awell-hidden information crime. In spite of its covert nature, the catastrophic ramification to the victims isovert. This information crime involves stealing patients’ records to impersonate the patients in an effort ofobtaining health care services or claiming Medicare on the patients’ behalf. Unlike financial identity theft,there is a lack of recourse for the victims to recover from damages. Medical identity theft undermines thequality of health care information systems and enervates the information security of electronic patientrecord.

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