What does it mean to "offshore" a medical record?

Offshoring is defined as the relocation of a business or department to a foreign country in order to take advantage of reduced labor costs and less stringent regulation. 

This means that in some instances, your medical record and the records of your family members are available to a workforce that is located outside of the United States.  These foreign workforces are not accountable to the same privacy and security laws that a US based workforce is accountable to. In fact, foreign governments have widely divergent rules and regulations regarding the accessing and processing of PHI (protected health information).

 IT and HIPAA experts as well as industry leaders have been vocal about their concerns regarding this business practice and have been issuing warnings about potential pitfalls of the offshoring of this data.  However, the offshoring of medical records has continued unabated due to the cheap labor costs that can be leveraged by sending PHI (protected health information) to foreign countries.  

The time has come to look at this issue in the light of day and reframe the conversation with you, the patient, at the center.  

In a global, digital age in which we are not in control of the flow of our personal information across multiple platforms, it is critical that we confront and resolve the problems surrounding the offshoring of medical records that leaves all Americans far too vulnerable to the open accessibility of their medical records.

This public awareness campaign, "I've Got Questions, You Need Answers" was launched in 2018 by Patient Privacy Advocate Elizabeth Burke. This campaign involves industry experts, advocates and feedback from patient populations so we can all come together and identify a way forward for the common good.  Exciting things are happening and people who want to help are stepping forward.  

 

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It can be difficult to speak truth to power. Circumstances, however, have made doing so increasingly necessary.
— Aberjnani, Splendid Literarium: A Treasury of Stories, Aphorisms, Poems and Essays

 

 

 

 

Advocacy mission statement

When it comes to the business practice of offshoring medical records, we have identified the patient as the invisible stakeholder.  We believe in shifting the focus away from what benefits foreign and domestic corporations and empowering patient populations with the information they need in order to self-advocate to legislators and their healthcare providers. 

 

Vision statement

"I have Questions, You need answers."

Through ongoing engagement and public education this project will identify potential problems and weaknesses in the current business practice of offshoring medical records.  By advocating for a radical paradigm shift within the healthcare industry, we are committed to bringing the security and best interest of the patient into the center of the discussion.  By bringing experts together, we will establish a new framework for ongoing conversations, identify plans of action and define best practices.