How safe are your medical information records online?

Anyone can order prescription drugs online and this phenomenon is nothing new. There are a plethora of reasons as to why people choose to buy medicines online. One of the important reasons is that shopping for medications online is too easy a task and moreover many people also find it convenient to do shopping online.

Drugs that are taken over a long term can be best bought online conveniently. There are many health insurance plans that offer online pharmacy options which enable policy holders to get drugs at better prices over the online platform. There are also people who prefer to buy prescription medications online as they want to protect their privacy. People feel that purchasing medications from online pharmacies is way better than handing the prescription to the pharmacist in a crowded drug store.

Online shopping involves submission of critical information like your transaction details. This says that privacy and security is of paramount importance. Further, it is not only the payment information you need to provide while doing the transaction but your personal medical information is also required. Thus the privacy and security part is made even more critical.

Medical information security

Several watchdog groups conducted a study and gave a formal complaint to the Federal Trade Commission which stated that companies could collect information in regards to health over the online medium and use it in ways that would not put private medical information at stake. Websites that were targeted in this complaint included Google, Yahoo and among many others. These plaintiffs alleged that these websites have technological tools which allows them to target advertising to those people who are known to have chronic health conditions and have researched several products online that appeared to them as proper treatment. They also sometimes eavesdropped on social media or any other health information portal or health website discussion forums.

Pharmacies are also allowed to sell anonymous prescription data to data mining companies which sell this information to pharmaceutical companies. However, not all pharmacies do this and it is also not easy to find out if your local pharmacy is involved in selling critical information to data miners. While all this information represent in a manner of identity information, it is however not clear if there is any easy way in identifying if any information can be removed in such a way that it cannot be reconstructed again.

Security associated to your payment information

Online shopping happens every other day and consumers today are very much aware of the need to protect their critical information. That being said, it is important to read the privacy policy and terms and conditions of the website before you begin shopping if you are new to online shopping. You also need to check that the payment pages use Secure Socket Layer (SSL) encryption and check for “https” in the URL rather than just “http”. Also pages that are secure will show a small padlock somewhere on the page or in the URL address bar.