Hospitals facing unprecedented threats; you need to secure your medical records today

Imagine rushing to the emergency room, but after five hours they tell you to find another hospital.

Or you show up at your specialist’s office for a chronic illness, only to find that they don’t have access to your entire medical history. Both of these scenarios happened.

The cyberattack on one of the largest healthcare systems in the United States, Ascension, was serious — Really bad. Before you say, “Another data breach? So what, Kim? know that selling your records on the dark web is the less of your worries.

I AM A TECHNICAL EXPERT AND YOU NEED TO MAKE THESE TECHNICAL CHANGES NOW BEFORE IT’S TOO LATE.

Code red

The Ascension hack plunged its 140 hospitals and 40 senior centers into chaos. It destroyed patient record systems and drug prescribing systems, forcing doctors and nurses to rely on paper charts and handwritten records to make things work.

One patient, Zackery Lopez, checked himself into an Ascension-run hospital in Southfield, Michigan. He was suffering from internal bleeding and thought his cancer had returned. Zackery waited seven grueling hours before a nurse could help him. While he waited, he saw patients checking in.

Dr. Alia Broman, right, examines a 6-year-old patient at Denver Health in Denver, Colorado, April 25, 2024. (Hyoung Chang/The Denver Post)

Keep your health records secure

When hospital systems are hacked, it is a matter of life and death. And this is happening more and more often. Keeping physical records seems old-fashioned, but if digital systems fail, it could save your life.

  • Start with a list. Make a list of all your medications, including dosages and names, and keep both in digital form. And physical copies. Keep a physical copy in your purse or wallet if you are undergoing treatment or in case of an emergency.

I also recommend compiling your complete medical records and having a printed copy on hand. If you have an iPhone, you can sync them with your Health app:

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Add your health records

  • Open it Health application on your iPhone or iPad.
  • If you’re on your iPhone, tap the button Summary tab, then your profile picture in the upper right corner. On iPad, tap Profile in the upper left corner.
  • Scroll to Features > Health Records > To start.
  • Research for your hospital or network, then tap it. FOR YOUR INFORMATION: It will ask you to add location services to find hospitals and health networks near you, but you don’t have to enable it to search.
  • Below Available to connectchoose Connect account. To log in on your healthcare provider’s website or app.
  • Wait for your records to update. It may take a minute for your information to appear.
  • Repeat these steps for each supported provider. Start by going to Featuresthen touch Add an account.
Woman on iPad

Woman at home worried after checking online for COVID-19 symptoms (iStock)

View your health records

  • Open it Health app on your iPhone or iPad.
  • If you’re on your iPhone, tap Browse. On iPad, open the lateral bar.
  • Below Health Recordspress one category.
  • Tap an item to see more information about it.

I have a medical report from 2012 in my account, and it’s a 66-page PDF! Yes, you really are TO DO I want that much detail.

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Are you using Android?

Unfortunately, Google doesn’t have an integrated health app equivalent. That doesn’t mean you’re out of luck.

Many people like the free, privacy-friendly CommonHealth app. It comes from the nonprofit The Commons Project Foundation and connects 15,000 healthcare providers.

Doctor with cancer patient

A doctor showing a patient the results of her medical tests. (iStock)

Most Play Store options include some sort of data collection, but not this one. The data is stored on your device online and the developers claim that it will not be sold, shared or used for marketing purposes.

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