Medical records are one of the most private, personal pieces of information that can exist. There are reasons why HIPAA has been so well established and regulated over the years. Despite all of that, sometimes medical information shows up on the internet when it shouldn’t. If that happens to you, you may ask yourself, “Can you remove personal information from the internet?” The answer is complicated, but when it comes to medical records, there are ways to remove personal information and restore your sense of privacy. These are the three methods of dealing with medical information that is accessible when it should not be.
In theory, only you or your healthcare provider can access your digital medical records. Random passersby cannot see your medical history or notes by making requests to government record keepers. Even though that is the expectation, things don’t always work as intended. If there is a case where someone manages unauthorized access to your records, you can contact the Department of Health & Human Services. They will review your case and take measures to correct the problem.
Conversely, if there is a problem with your medical records that you want changed or addressed, the best route is to contact your primary healthcare provider to resolve it.
Unfortunately, data breaches happen. People trade health records illegally, and then information that should never be in a Google search starts to appear. This can include your medical records. If this applies to you, there is a method of recourse that you can try.
First, copy the URL of any websites that have your details. Once you have that information, go to the Google support page and make an official request. They have a process for getting rid of search results that violate privacy protection laws, and medical records are included under that purview. The site will walk you through the process to ensure they have enough information to fulfill your request. Once you go through the process, if Google has sufficient information, they will ensure that your medical records do not show up on search results.
You may need to repeat the process with other search engines.
Even if Google removes the search results, your information is still on the sites that published it. That represents a trickier problem. The best way to get it off of those sites is to hire a professional. You can try contacting each site directly and asking them to remove your information, but they’re already violating HIPAA by posting it. They might prove uncooperative with your request. In that case, net reputation advocates are your best resource. They have tricks and skills that can often get your information off of the internet.
If you want help managing your online reputation, you can get online privacy tips and professional removal services when you contact us.