Medical outsourcing debacle

Cost-cutting doctors are breaching privacy laws and could be endangering patients’ lives by sending medical files overseas to be typed up cheaply. An investigation by The Sunday Telegraph has revealed a growing number of Australian hospitals and medical practices are outsourcing secretarial work to companies in India, Pakistan and the Philippines.
At least four big Sydney hospitals and hundreds of doctors are among those using cheap labour to transcribe digitally recorded verbal notes online.
Prices can be half as much as the Australian rate, or less.
But rivals claim foreign workers, most of whom do not have English as their first language, are more prone to making dangerous mistakes and may be unable to keep patients’ private details secure.
One expert warned that getting key medical terms wrong in patients’ records could prove lethal.
“If you mix them up, you’re dead meat,” she said.
Some overseas companies have recorded potentially fatal errors in transcripts, such as confusing “hypo”, which means too low, with “hyper”, which means too high.
{Australians are angry about doctors sending their medical records offshore for transcribing, but few Americans know that our doctors and hospitals are doing the very same thing, subjecting us to risks of data errors, identity theft, and sales of copies of our medical records. Today, electronic medical records databases are not private, secure, or confidential either in the US or overseas, because HIPAA stripped all Americans of the right to control access to our electronic medical records. ~ Dr. Deborah Peel, Patient Privacy Rights}

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