While there are many benefits to using electronic medical records, many people are cautious to put their medical history and information online. These concerns are rooted in a distrust of the competence of Internet security, a problem that needs to be addressed. Through policies and recommendations regarding privacy, both healthcare providers and their patients can be confident that their data will remain secure.

Recently, the Office of the Attorney General in California joined forces with the American Health Information Management Association to issue a set of recommendations in order to address privacy concerns and prevent information theft and identity fraud. This program makes available clearly outlined procedures for the examination of records that may have been compromised.

According to the report provided by the Office of the Attorney General, there are many signs to look out for in regards to identity theft. These signs may include:

  • Unauthorized access by a healthcare provider
  • Medical bills for visits and procedures that look unfamiliar to the patient
  • Unknown items present on the list of benefits provided by insurance
  • Questions that seem out of the ordinary when visiting a doctor’s office or hospital
  • Incorrect information on medical forms such as the wrong birthday

If a patient suspects medical identity theft, the best thing for them to do is call their healthcare provider and their insurance. The patient can request that their healthcare providers allow them access to their medical records to search for inaccurate information. They can also request a list of benefits from their health insurance company. Any discrepancies are often signs of identity theft.

Medical identity theft can not only cause unnecessary stress and complications, but it can also be a serious health risk. Falsified information on a medical record can lead to dangerous consequences for the patient and needs to be closely monitored. By following these recommendations and vigilantly checking information, both the patient and the provider can rest easy knowing that their electronic medical records are secure.

Author: Lauren Daniels

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