Tornadoes and HIPAA

[Note:  Since this post was published, I found an excellent post over at EMRandHIPAA.com.]

My friend John Lynn over at EMRandHIPAA.com posted an interesting piece discussing hospital liability when health information is literally strewn around town after a tornado hits.  With all of the recent tornado activity and tragedy occurring in the U.S., it seems likely to happen again and again.

This also highlights another reason I love my web-based, redundantly backed-up EMR system.  You can’t lose any protected health information unless the locked-up primary server farm and the locked-up secondary backup server farm, which are typically geographically isolated from each other, are both destroyed .  You can’t blow paper chart notes out windows or plastic x-ray films into tree tops when they don’t exist.

Inadvertent exposure of PHI?  Think again.  Web-based records require the person to login remotely to access them, so you can’t just lose a laptop on the train or in a cab and be at risk of data breach.

I feel bad for all the patients who lost, or will lose, their records because they were kept on paper, since it probably means they’re at high risk of having a less informed doctor treating them in the future.  Don’t fight future tornadoes… embrace the cloud today!

 

Dr. West is an endocrinologist in private practice in Washington, DC.  He completed fellowship training in Endocrinology and Metabolism at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Dr. West opened The Washington Endocrine Clinic, PLLC, as a solo practice in 2009.  He can be reached at doctorwestindc@gmail.com.

About the author

Dr. Michael West

Dr. Michael West

Dr. West is an endocrinologist in private practice in Washington, DC. He completed fellowship training in Endocrinology and Metabolism at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Dr. West opened The Washington Endocrine Clinic, PLLC in 2009. He can be contacted at doctorwestindc@gmail.com.

   

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