Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Brit NHS Loses Thousands of Medical Records

(London, England) The British National Health Service (NHS) has lost tens of thousands of medical records due to a series of 140 data security breaches between January and April 2009.
14 NHS institutes have been observed to have broken the data regulations. According to Mick Gorrill, assistant information commissioner, NHS has offended laws by losing such confidential information.

In one instance, the database of 10,000 people was downloaded onto an insecure laptop and the laptop was said to have been stolen from the home of the NHS employee.

In another such case of negligence, a memory stick, which was carrying medical histories of ex-inmates of Preston prison and other 6,360 prison patients, was lost earlier. The password for obtaining the data was written on the device itself.
To correct the problems, the information commissioner, Richard Thomas, has dispatched "a crack team of investigators" to analyze how data is stored at various hospitals. Additionally, Thomas wrote a letter to a "senior civil servant in the Department of Health" to take steps necessary to improve the situation.

Sadly, the writing of letters is arguably about the harshest punishment meted out by the government to state bureaucracy employees. It's sort of an official hand slap. One seldom hears of bureaucrats being canned.

Fortunately, this type of error may not be a problem when the United States imposes government-run health care. As I understand, Obama's plan will just put all medical records on the Internet so the loss of a memory stick would likely be a minor problem. Medical records on the Internet will naturally be as secure as bank records or Los Alamos weapons secrets and we know those things are suck-pucker tight. Heh.

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