Nearly half of Americans fear identity theft because of their health care

Your healthcare information is costly — to you if it’s stolen, and to hackers when they steal it.

Almost half of Americans — 44 percent — are worried about their personal health care information being stolen, a new Xerox survey says. That’s despite the fact that nobody changes their passwords to protect against ID theft.

But 76 percent of Americans would still rather have their doctors share their health care information with them electronically, rather than another method like faxing. And 87 percent of respondents think “wait times to receive test results and diagnoses would decrease if providers were able to securely share and access digital patient information from various providers,” Xerox says.

“It’s clear patients are frustrated by the lack of care coordination and disjointed processes,” says Cees Van Doorn, Xerox’s senior VP of healthcare. “Our survey shows 19 percent of Americans would rather wait in line at the DMV than coordinate between different doctors’ offices to ensure they have all of their records and health information.”

So how can the doctor-patient relationship be streamlined without sacrificing personal data to scammers and breaches?

Xerox says there are ways health care professionals can digitize patient information that is secure and also a fast, easy way for patients to access their records. There are a few apps and wearable technology options that also help with doctors getting the data they need and patients managing to get personal information without fear of being hacked.

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How to protect yourself from ID theft

If you haven’t had your identity stolen, chances are you know someone who has, as 41 million Americans have experienced this personal data breach.

Start with the basics: shred old documents that have personal and/or sensitive information that aren’t necessary to keep around or may not be relevant anymore. Also avoid public, unsecured Wi-Fi networks. Use your data instead! After that, stick with a basic lists of don’ts:

  • Don’t keep your Social Security card in your wallet.
  • Don’t give out personal information just because someone asks — find out what they need it for first. Even if you’re at work or the doctor’s office.
  • Absolutely avoid giving out personal information over the phone or online unless you can verify its security or you initiated contact, like your banking institution.
  • When you’re online, don’t open attachments (or even emails!) if you don’t know who it is from.
  • Don’t use the same password on multiple sites, and use a password generator to create difficult, hard-to-break combinations for every secure site you use. Remember: hackers believe if you use a password for one site, you will use it for many!
  • Speaking of passwords, change them at least once a year.
  • If you don’t use a password protection application (like 1Password), you may want to consider investing in one soon.
  • Digital and hard-copy records alike should be kept in a secure place at home.

See how at-risk you are for ID theft and make sure you’re taking the right precautions to stay safe.

Meet the Author

Dori Zinn

Dori Zinn

Writer

Zinn is a freelance journalist based in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Budgeting & Saving, Credit & Debt, News, Tech

health, identity theft

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Article last modified on May 4, 2017. Published by Debt.com, LLC . Mobile users may also access the AMP Version: Medical Records are Stolen Every Single Day - AMP.