Medical records go digital, will hackers gain access

By: Mario Boone Email
By: Mario Boone Email

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- Beginning August 1st, Children's Hospital's emergency room will ditch handwritten patient notes in favor of electronic health records. "That's going to help make care easier and safer because it's going to make it easier for people to read and understand that documentation," said Christy Carter, a nurse at Children's.

Within two years, the entire hospital will adopt the new method. It's part of a federal plan to drive down costs and clean up medical mistakes nationwide. "We know that they're are a lot of medical errors made by people trying to interpret writing that's bad," said Cooper.

"I think it'll be great. Great for the patient's standpoint to where each department can see their records," said parent Lorene Chitwood.

"I think it's a little bit more convenient for them to be electronically compared to being handwritten," said another parent Tyrone Davis.

Some tennessee hospitals already use electronic files. as more and more hospitals switch to digital record keeping, the obvious question becomes, is your sensitive medical information safe from hackers?

"The only concern I would be worried about is just making sure that they're secure enough, especially with them being online. Make sure they have good enough encryption so they're records aren't easily hacked," said Davis.

"It's not web-based at all. There won't be any external access," said Cooper. Reducing chances for a hacker outside the network to break in. Cooper says they also have safeguards against a potential breach from inside. "Anytime a nurse, or a technician, or a doctor logs into a record it time stamps it, it dates it, and it tracks where they go in that record."

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