steth_keyb1There has been quite some debate over the replacement of the patient journal system in Region Skåne in Sweden. I’ve been thinking about patient journal systems in general and the challenges with patient confidentiality.

How important is it that patient data is secured and its confidentiality enforced? I guess it depends how sick you are, and who you are, or what you have been treated for. Nevertheless, I feel that not enough debate is ongoing in Sweden concerning the lack of privacy controls on patient data.

It is really more than confidentiality which is an issue here. There is also integrity of patient data… life and death depend on this.

What’s more is that there is a growing trend in America for something called ‘medical identity theft’. This is where your medical insurance is used by fraudsters to get treatment at the expense of the victim. There is more than this, their treatment could cause incorrect diagnosis and/or decisions on treatment by the doctor on the victim, because medical decisions made on the fraudster are included in the victim’s patient journal. This can lead to life and death situation for the victim!

Coming back to Sweden and risks. Medical identity theft I don’t see as a significant risk. Medical care in general is almost free in Sweden, we pay through our taxes, and all regardless to level of income have a right to medical care, thank goodness! So Swedes you can relax for now, and focus can be on enforcing privacy and integrity of your sensitive information 😉

Lots to talk about here, but not now, I’ll pick this up again later!