Keeping Your Data Safe with Encrypted Drives

Today I am reminded of a significant medical information privacy risk. Nearly all of my ENT colleagues occasionally perform image guided sinus surgery. This requires transferring patient CT scan images over to a hospital computer for use during surgery. The typical way these images are transferred as with an unencrypted CD or DVD drive. Commonly this disc will be transferred in the doctor’s pocket from their office to the hospital. Usually it is then discarded at the hospital, often in a very unofficial way.

For about the past 9 months I have started using an encrypted USB drive to transfer images instead. I actually found that it is faster in terms of data transfer. I am also happy to say that if I lose this USB Key it is generally considered not privacy breech because of the 256bit encryption on the drive --> to the person without the code it might as well be a useless hunk of metal. The drive has a tiny keypad and internal processor that requires unlocking with a manual entry of a lengthy number combination. I have been fairly surprised at how useful this drive is, how compatible it has been with various operating systems and various computers. It should be standard protocol in the medical field.

As I am getting used to a small encrypted USB Key, I find it easy and safer to transfer images from the operating room back to our office. Historically these were printed on photo paper, which took time and resources, then manually transferred of course, and then often scanned in at the office. However with the USB key can simply save the images to the same drive that I brought the CT scan over on.

cheers! keep yourself and your data safe!