Medical Identity at Risk


The healthcare industry has undergone rapid digital transformation over the last decade. Technology has enabled healthcare providers to use networks to store and share medical resources. Innovations like virtual healthcare have been a major step towards disseminating access to quality healthcare to the masses.  But here lies the catch. All this digitization has led to the electronic storage of a great number of medical information and health records. People share their medical information on virtual healthcare platforms. At the same time healthcare providers store a vast amount of patient data to enrich their knowledge networks.

This plethora of personal data is an easy target for hackers as the healthcare industry has not taken any stringent steps towards data security. Medical identity theft can be far more dangerous with serious financial repercussions for the victim. If someone’s credit card information is hacked, the breach is easier to figure out and the card can be blocked. However, one’s medical history is permanent and once stolen, it can be put to many criminal uses. Many such frauds include false insurance claims and fake prescriptions, which can leave the victim’s health records permanently tarnished.

It is indeed true that digitization can help in cost cutting and increased efficiency, however at the same time confidentiality of private data should not be compromised. In an age where security of personal data is of prime importance to everyone, it is quite shocking to see the vulnerabilities that exist in the healthcare industry.

There is a huge scope and need to enhance the security of medical databases. Some ways to do this are to strengthen data encryption mechanisms and make notification system more robust. If people lose trust in the ability of healthcare systems to secure private data, they may stop sharing their private information altogether, and this would ultimately lead to collapse of the technological transformation of the health care system.


Graham, M. (2015) How networks are driving innovation in healthcare

Ollove, M. (2014) The Rise Of Medical Identity Theft In Healthcare


Radcliffe, S. (2015) Patients Beware: Hackers Are Targeting Your Medical Information



2 responses to “Medical Identity at Risk”

  1. Formula 41 Reviews says :

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  2. lennartschwung says :

    Interesting article 439253ag! Before reading your article, I was very unaware of how big of a concern medical identity theft is. I researched a bit further and discovered that over 2 million Americans are victim of this crime.

    A reason why this type of fraud is gaining popularity is that medical records often include financial data, social security numbers and of course medical information.

    The cost to the victims is typically much higher than credit-cards for example, where the Ponemon study suggest 65% of medical identify theft victims are paying on average $13,500 to resolve the crime. Furthermore, the average delay of 3 months until the victims learn about the fraud is much longer than other fraudulent activity. In sum this is a type of fraud that is more costly to the victim and often takes longer to be discovered.

    There are five ways which Forbes highlights you can protect yourself;

    1) Get a copy of your medical records from your doctors and review them for accuracy
    2) Check your explanation of benefits
    3) Only give your social security number if absolutely necessary
    4) Monitor your credit regularly
    5) Use a medical identity monitoring service

    Let us hope these problems are addressed quickly before our generation begins facing health problems further down the road!

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