Google Will Now Remove Private Medical Records From Search Results

Mark Bergen reports:

Alphabet Inc.’s Google has quietly decided to scrub an entire category of online content — personal medical records — from its search results, a departure from its typically hands-off approach to policing the web.

Google lists the information it removes from its search results on its policy page. On Thursday, the website added the line: “confidential, personal medical records of private people.” A Google spokeswoman confirmed the changes do not affect search advertising but declined to comment further.

Read more on Bloomberg Technology.

I’m glad to see this, of course, but if you find personal medical information on the web, remember that you need to/should do more than just Google to de-index it, as the material will still be accessible on the web to those who know where to or how to look for it. Be sure to contact the site or webmaster to alert them that they are exposing confidential medical information.

And if that fails to get results, you can file a complaint with state or federal regulators – or just go to the media to see if any local news station might be interested in picking up the story and getting involved with it.

About the author: Dissent

7 comments to “Google Will Now Remove Private Medical Records From Search Results”

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  1. Confused - June 23, 2017

    Is it true that the government made medical offices put all of our stuff on computers? Were they required to go back into past medical records and scan them?

    If they required that it all be digitized did they require cyber security training?

    Your articles about all of these medical records out in the wild are so disturbing.

    Can Medical offices sue the government for their part?

    • Anonymous - June 23, 2017

      I work in healthcare IT. The answer is no, the government didn’t force healthcare providers to switch to electronic charts from paper charts. Rather, the federal government has strongly encouraged practices that accept Medicare to convert to electronic patient records (called EMR or EHR).

      The government did this by offering a bonus on Medicare payments to providers that switched to EHR during the first two years of transition (with a deadline of course). Currently they penalize providers who are not using EHR a percentage of their Medicare reimbursements.

      Providers that don’t accept Medicare are not affected.

  2. Anonymous - June 23, 2017

    Our current EMR does not functionally allow us to limit access to your record by blocking it from our Medical Group staff and related practices

    How’s that for a privacy statement from the Dr.s

  3. Trent - June 23, 2017

    Interesting timing, Google… I notice some particular orthodontic related pdf files that were accessible a few days ago from their index are no longer present in results.

    • Dissent - June 23, 2017

      Coincidental. The disappearance of the files corresponds to me actually reaching the entity and them following up. Haven’t heard back from them yet, but verified today that files appear now secured.

      • Trent - June 25, 2017

        That’s good to hear, were you able to get a better sampling of patient data to determine just how “breacherific” their leak was?

        • Dissent - June 25, 2017

          My comments were not in reference to any specific leak or incident.

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