Shostack + Friends Blog Archive


Medical Privacy

There’s a really interesting story in the New York Times last Sunday, “Health Hazard: Computers Spilling Your History.” Money quote:

Some patients are so fearful that they make risky decisions about their health. One in eight respondents in a survey last fall by the California HealthCare Foundation said they had tried to hide a medical problem by using tactics like skipping a prescribed test or asking the doctor to “fudge a diagnosis.”

I think what’s most interesting is that Americans seem fully aware that computers are often insecure, and have a gut belief that information on paper is subject to fewer threats. For a lot of us, trading those risks against information about our (lack of) drug allergies being available in an emergency situation simply isn’t worth it.