Letter from the Chief Privacy Officer

In this issue: More medical professionals are using electronic health records—but are they secure? The prognosis is grim, according to our chief privacy officer. A guest data risk expert shares tips on how businesses can protect their customers’ health data. A Michigan woman is billed for an identity thief’s pricey procedure. With hurricane season upon us, our experts share tips on how to protect your identity before and after a disaster. Plus, learn about our work to help educate and protect foster children’s identities.

Monday, September 26, 2011

With cold and flu season approaching, it’s a good time to examine the health of electronic medical records. A cough and runny nose are minor symptoms compared with the more significant aches and pains caused by digital health data security risks.
Keeping electronic health records private is a growing challenge for health care providers. Recent federal audits show security vulnerabilities in digital medical records and systems that share such data. Like the viruses that prey on our immune system, opportunistic thieves are waiting to take advantage of weak security protections.
In our Ask the Expert column, we take a look at how businesses that handle sensitive electronic health data can manage the risk of security breaches. Paul E. Paray, our guest expert and a corporate litigator, shares practical tips for businesses to better protect their customers’ and employees’ digital health data.
One customer’s nightmare began when she discovered that she was ”tagged” with someone else’s medical bills adding up to more than $180,000. The problem had a dramatic impact on her credit file. Learn how one of our fraud investigators stopped creditors from hounding her and restored her credit rating.
Our top fraud experts went back to school to teach foster children about identity theft at the First Star UCLA Bruin Guardian Scholars Summer Academy in Los Angeles. Working with the 30 ninth-graders over the course of three days was an incredibly rewarding experience. Read more about our work to empower foster youths who are vulnerable to this crime.
Finally, this month’s newsletter offers disaster tips to help you stay ahead of the storm. Hurricane Irene caused extensive flood and wind damage to parts of the East Coast. In addition to enduring devastating losses, many people must replace lost documents like birth certificates and Social Security cards. With the hurricane season not yet over and the possibility of autumn twisters, our experts’ advice can help you prepare for the unexpected.
As always, we hope you enjoy.
Eduard Goodman
Chief Privacy Officer

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If you need identity theft assistance, call your provider organization to be put in touch with the CyberScout Resolution Center. More information for individual consumers.