About Those Electronic Health Records . . .

Obamaman wants to move the U.S. towards EHR (electronic health records) to save money and provide free health care for everyone.

Sounds great, but there are a few glitches.

EHR won’t save as much as Mr. Fixit want’s you to believe.

EHR is expensive and most doctor’s offices and many small hospitals will not be able to afford to transition to EHR.

And then there is this . . .

Test runs with Germany’s first-generation electronic health cards and doctors’ “health professional cards” have suffered a serious setback. After the failure of a hardware security module (HSM) holding the private keys for the root Certificate Authority (root CA) for the first-generation cards, it emerged that the data had not been backed up. Consequently, if additional new cards are required for field testing, all of the cards previously produced for the tests will have to be replaced, because a new root CA will have to be generated.

Fortunately this was only a test.

The system crashes and no back up.

Cute.

The electronic health card is in many respects a large and ambitious project. Among other things, it involves the construction of the world’s largest private key infrastructure (PKI). This is supposed to allow 80 million health cards and health professional cards to check each other for authenticity.

Makes those paper files look downright valuable.

But even if they wanted to back up the system, it will take a lot of floppy’s.

Andreas Bogk of the Chaos Computer Club, who testified to the Bundestag a few weeks ago at a hearing on the health card system, draws attention to a point he considers comparatively important. “The same problem is also going to affect the data in individual electronic health records. The back-up problem can’t be solved merely by backing up the private key. But that invalidates the promise of complete security (“central storage is not a problem, because the key is only held on the card, so the patient retains power over it”).

Change you can believe in.

Yes you can.

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