Concern About Medical Records Is Not Misplaced

In her letter of March 30, Mary Grealy, president of the Healthcare Leadership Council, implies that Dr. Deborah Peel is being alarmist and hysterical about fears of electronic medical records (EMR) privacy (“Your Medical Records Aren’t Secure,” op-ed. March 24). Ms. Grealy makes the fantastic assertion that EMRs are less vulnerable than paper ones. Nonsense.

I do not recall many news stories of trucks hauling away 10,000 or 100,000 paper charts for diffusion to identity thieves, but massive IT security breaches and computer thefts involving tens of thousands of records or more are increasingly common. As one example, your Feb. 18 article “Global Attack Snags Corporate, Personal Data,” tells about how hackers in Europe and China broke into computers at more than 2,400 companies and government agencies over the last 18 months, as well as at 10 U.S. government agencies. It is quite realistic to be concerned about how hospitals, generally an IT backwater, will fare.

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