A British TV station investigation into India’s medical transcription industry, known as Business Process Outsourcing (BPO), uncovered unsettling news for British subjects, as well as American citizens. Medical records sent to India to be transcribed and computerized are being sold. The Economic Times report on the investigation out of New Delhi suspects a "hardening of stance on the outsourcing industry by the western world." The article states:
The revelation has forced police of the two countries to join hands to launch an official investigation into the data pilferage of the records stored by the Indian BPOs. If found true, the allegations could hit the flourishing BPO sector in India hard, fueling doubts about their integrity and efficiency.
Security breaches of this kind can have far reaching effects beyond the businesses and individuals directly impacted. The hopes for funding U.S. healthcare reform rest, in part, on administrative cost savings. Under the HITECH Act, enacted as part of the 2009 federal stimulus bill, the U.S. will spend 36 billion to spur the health care industry to purchase and create systems and equipment, including electronic health records systems, to better network the healthcare industry. Reluctance to outsource and increased security are likely to chip away at whatever cost savings can be achieved through enhanced technology in healthcare.
In the short run, businesses must be more vigilant in vetting their vendors, as well as the vendors of their vendors. These efforts should include stronger agreements, deeper examinations of security protocols, knowing where information is ultimately stored and processed, and having a better understanding of the applicable legal and industry standards concerning data security. These efforts can not stop at the water’s edge.