VA facilities use online tools, violate privacy rules

At least eight Veterans Affairs facilities have been caught violating rules protecting the storage of patient data, in the last few months. Federal Times reports, the facilities were violating the VA’s rule against using online tools, like Google Docs, to share private health information from one office to another. One Orthopedics Department in Chicago was using Yahoo Calendar to share patients’ information. Full names, types of surgery and last four digits of Social Security numbers were all stored in the calendar since July 2007, and included the personal information of 878 patients. The VA’s policy is that no patient information be stored on systems outside its firewalls. VA’s CIO Roger Baker says it’s an issue that they will continue to address.

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