With the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, the move to electronic medical records has intensified, presenting the overall healthcare industry with, “an opportunity to focus on the medical identity theft as a serious quality-of-care issue”, as mentioned in The Office of the Attorney General of California’s report, “Medical Identity Theft: Recommendation for the Age of Electronic Medical Records”.
Medical identity theft is growing rapidly and has led to serious concerns for victims of this crime, not just because of the financial burden placed on victims, but that compromised medical records may lead to false diagnosis or medical treatment; making medical identity theft a potential life-threatening crime. Here at MedicAlert, we take our members’ medical record storage seriously and have been doing so for many years.
MedicAlert Foundation at forefront of electronic medical records and information security
Although the Affordable Care Act is speeding-up the process of electronic medical record storage, MedicAlert Foundation launched its first computerized automation of member records in the 1970’s. The benefit of filling this specialized need for so many years is that we’ve established and developed protocols and procedures to protect the confidential medical information of our members. We have understood for a long time that the overall strength of our organization is based on our solid commitment to keep our members’ medical data protected.
Our members’ medical data is treated with the highest regard for security and that’s why we are the only medical identification provider that complies with HIPAA standards which was designed to help reduce health care fraud and abuse and establish industry-wide standards for the protection and confidential handling of protected health information. Plus, for added security, we encrypt our members’ medical data through several hardware and software security layers.
During an emergency, MedicAlert’s 24/7 Emergency Response services can quickly provide our members’ medical records to professionals with additional built in safeguards. Through multiple layers of auditing to track and record access to our members’ individual medical records, we are able to provide step-by-step transactional data surrounding access to our members’ medical record. This provides the added benefit of knowing our members’ medical records are used effectively during emergency situations.
Here at MedicAlert Foundation, we’ve been at the forefront of developing security conscious features that has established our charity as a safe and reliable place to store medical information. We are pleased to see the engagement of the California Attorney General’s Office in ensuring all organizations are taking steps to ensure the safe storage of individual’s medical records. We are also taking steps to establish a uniform set of standards and operating procedures to further public safety and health through the establishment of our new medical ids “network”.
MedicAlert Foundation network expands consumer health protections
MedicAlert’s new medical ids “network” expands our efforts to help protect consumers by ensuring organizations develop medical IDs that are easily recognizable by emergency personnel, elevate standards among medical ID developers, and to expand MedicAlert’s 24/7 emergency network to wearers of all participating medical ID companies in the network. MedicAlert’s new “network” adheres to privacy protections by expanding our HIPAA compliant storage of secure personal health information to more medical ID providers. As you can see, MedicAlert understands the value of protecting your medical identity and as of late, there are other industry organizations that have recognized this as a priority as well by joining our “network”.
Going forward, we will continue to lead our industry by protecting and safeguarding our members’ medical records in order to prevent the unauthorized abuse that comes with medical identity theft. We understand the real dangers of medical identity theft and will continue to engage in proactive measures to always safeguard our members’ medical information and continue to deliver MedicAlert’s vital life-saving services for many years to come.