The National Health Service (NHS), UK, has been sending confidential medical information about millions of Britons to India for processing, despite pledges that no personal information would be sent overseas. The databases contain information about the names, addresses, NHS numbers of patients along with private information about their medical appointments. This information transfer will give an easy access to the patient’s medical records to the data entry staff. Security analysts fear if NHS numbers were matched with anonymous medical notes, there is an increased chance that the patients could be identified.
Seven primary care trusts in north east London serving, 1.5 million people, have been sending Briton patients’ medical records to data entries firms in Pune, India. Each patients’ notes are read by a consultant into a voice recorder. The recording is then put on a computer and sent to India where it is transcribed. This information is then computed into databases by hundreds of workers working in the data entry firms in Pune. Although the patient’s records are kept anonymous, there is a chance that they can appear while appointment as well as when transcribed by the Indian staff.