Doctors have been the butt of jokes for years. But this post is no joke.

Over the last five years I’ve been exposed to the back-of-house operations in healthcare in ways that helps put the front-of-house issues I observed into perspective. But one thing has always driven me batty, and I’ve never been able to figure out why.

Doctor Tom Saves the Day, by Murray Barnes

I’ve met some extremely talented doctors in my time that absolutely shocked me with their sheer intellect and problem solving abilities. But when it comes to protecting the information of the patients they serve, they just cannot be bothered. Even when they attempt to be bothered, many of them miss the point. MDs must understand that malpractice lawsuits aren’t the only thing that could severely affect their lifestyle—information security litigation can be just as painful.

Really good MDs know about all kinds of new treatment methods. Many of them fight for new machines, new equipment, or government approvals for new protocols. I understand why—they are passionate about what they do. I can totally relate to that! But what I don’t get is why basic information security principals are ignored.

Let’s take a simple issue—two factor authentication. I think it is reasonable for MDs to learn how to use this technology, have the right key-fob for the right hospital, and have some kind of emergency protocol for the moment when someone is coding on the table and the authentication mechanism isn’t working. Any such use of the “Break Glass If” protocol should trigger alerts including opening a case to resolve the problem, and an investigation into the incident to prevent it from occurring again. If MDs are truly pushing back like hospitals tell me they are, it’s time to meet somewhere in the middle and solve the patient privacy problem.

MDs love technology when it can help them treat patients more effectively, and it’s time they man up and embrace technology to protect their patients information as effectively as they treat them.

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