Medical Record Blackmail

By Deane Barker on October 23, 2003

A tough lesson on medical privacy / Pakistani transcriber threatens UCSF over back pay: I’d like to say that this is a lesson about what can happen if you send work offshore, but the truth is that this could just as easily happen in the United States.

A woman in Pakistan doing cut-rate clerical work for UCSF Medical Center threatened to post patients’ confidential files on the Internet unless she was paid more money.To show she was serious, the woman sent UCSF an e-mail earlier this month with actual patients’ records attached.

The violation of medical privacy — apparently the first of its kind — highlights the danger of ‘offshoring’ work that involves sensitive materials, an increasing trend among budget-conscious U.S. companies and institutions.

Nothing is private anymore.



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