Microsoft offers Health Vault – Don’t Do It!

For the past four weeks, listeners of my radio show have heard a series of tips I’ve given about PHRs – personal health records.

The underlying message has been: keeping your personal records in digital format can be a good thing. But do not — under any circumstances — move them to the web! No way!

Then there’s the news in the NY Times focuses on Microsoft’s launch of their new PHR system, inviting patients to log on and upload their personal health information to Microsoft’s servers.

internet.jpgI’ve blogged about this before.

Repeat after me: THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS INTERNET PRIVACY OR SECURITY for the common internet user — meaning us. NOT if your information is being stored online.

Worse — your information will be used AND sold by these organizations. They aren’t offering this service from the goodness of their hearts, after all. They are offering it to make money!

Do you have arthritis? If so, their web ‘bots will read your file and you’ll find an arthritis drug ad parked next to your arthritis information.

Is your weight a bit on the high side? Or do you have a problem with your cholesterol? You’ll find ads from Weight Watchers or Lipitor, or whatever is appropriate.

Does that sound like privacy to you?

Further — you’ve heard in the news many times about personal information being lost or stolen. From TJMax and Marshalls to to the federal government — it happens every day. What makes you think your health records are any safer than your social security number or credit card numbers?

If you want to keep your personal health records on your computer, that’s OK. Even if your computer security gets breached, they won’t be looking for your health records because selling one individual’s health information isn’t particularly lucrative.

And if you want access to your records in an emergency – there are ways of doing that , too. Link here to see a How-To posted on my Every Patient’s Advocate website.

By all means, keeping track of your medical care using a personal health record is a great idea. Just don’t put your information on the internet if you want to keep it private or secure, no matter what those websites tell you about their encryption or security. In this case, it sounds too good to be true — and you betcha — it is.

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Trisha Torrey
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