words of WISDAM from the Electronic Encyclopaedia of Personal Data (EEPD)

Skip to: Content | Sidebar | Footer

Electronic Patient Records: The Fatal Flaw

17 September, 2013 (13:52) | EPR, hand held records, IT fallacies, Nightmares!, Paper Records | By: rupertfawdry

In retrospect, it’s so obvious, yet no-one seems to have been ready to think through the following:

A. Electronic Records


“High Security” but “Minimal Access”

i.e. access only by the owner of the record and no-one else –  Never, ever any Instant Duplication of Data (but how to stop that?)


“Useful Access” but “No Possibility of Adequate Security”

Data instantly copied onto other hard disks

i.e.  A salesman’s dream come true, since anything that is useful will have to be accessible to anyone authorised throughout the whole NHS.

Such electronic records, despite vociferous disclaimers, will almost certainly be sold by someone, somewhere in the whole NHS to customer-hungry advertisers – see this news item in TechWeek Europe – or eventually be hacked by someone somewhere, or left on a stolen laptop

After all, if the CIA, FBI and GCHQ cannot maintain security, how can the NHS ever guarantee adequate security?

We will then get scenarios, for example, in which advertisers bombard all patients with diabetes with e-mail adverts relevant to diabetics, or all elderly people with adverts for stair lifts, care homes or hearing aids. There’s a particularly lucrative market for hearing aids when unscrupulously sold to the confused elderly, as demonstrated by the number of totally useless £500 hearing aids that I found in my mother’s house when I was clearing up there.  I discovered that my mother had bought several of these devices, despite the fact that her hearing problems were not treatable by hearing aids!

Contrast the above with

B. Paper Records

Only accessible to those with personal access to the actual paper record, or to a photocopy of the actual paper record.

These are kept, relatively safely, by the patient or safely locked in specific hospital or GP records departments. Owing to the work involved, only limited numbers of copies of a few records are ever made.

i.e. of no value at all to sales-hungry advertisers wishing to target their marketing to specific potential customers.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Write a comment

You need to login to post comments!