We seem to live in an age of constant digital threats. Identity theft, scams, and security breaches happen more often than we may realize. Over the past few decades, the medical world has become mostly digital, keeping private patient records online, as opposed to paper folders. These electronic medical records (EMRs) or electronic health records (EHRs) are now the industry standard. Other vital information is being moved to this online or digitized platform as well. However, there are still plenty of clinics that use paper files, and you likely have a physical insurance card, among other identifiers. In this interim, this time between analog and digital health records, it’s important to be especially diligent about protecting yourself.
While electronic records are touted as more secure than paper ones, that doesn’t mean they’re impervious to threats. Additionally, the pieces of your medical information that you likely hold yourself need to be kept secure. To protect your sensitive medical information, here are a few tips to keep in mind:
1. Keep copies of your personal health record (PHR)
Most doctors’ offices and hospitals will let you download a digital copy of your health records, which can be a great idea. Just make sure you are storing them on a secure computer, preferably with an offsite or cloud backup.
2. Don’t access your records on public computers
Whenever possible, avoid accessing your private medical records or online portals on devices that are not totally secure. This can be anywhere on public Wi-Fi, including library computers or even on your phone in a cafe.
3. Share your records only with designated people
Your personal health records are just that—they’re personal. Don’t give your records to just anyone, even if it seems more convenient to do so. Make sure anyone accessing your medical information is directly serving you or is a safe person you trust like a spouse or caregiver.
4. Be mindful of what you share online
Sometimes, it’s all too easy to share our personal lives on social media, and that includes our medical care. Try to refrain from sharing too many details publicly about things like surgeries, procedures, your medications, names and locations of doctors, or your insurance coverage. Additionally, don’t share photos of things like your insurance cards, IDs, vaccination records, or medical charts.
Here at DuPage Immediate Care, we work hard to keep our patients’ records safe. If you need urgent care, need to see a physician, or want to save your spot for walk-in care, book your appointment now!