Florida changing its online prescription database

Security breached in early summer

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – A security breach earlier this summer has the state Department of Health scrambling to keep Floridians' information private. Skeptics say they don't believe new proposals will protect patient privacy.

Florida's online prescription database is ground zero for security issues.

"We wanted to make sure that we feel like it's secure," said Marty Stubblefield, of the Department of Health. "Security is priority number one for the Department of Health on health information."

Earlier this summer the Department of Health was forced to review security after 3,300 Floridians medical information wrongfully made it into the hands of five attorneys in Volusia County.

DOH said even after the breach, the department's number one mission is keeping people's information private.

"The biggest changes are on who we accept as having access, being able to deny access, as well as being able to say, 'this person is too much,'" Stubblefield said.

This week the department held a public hearing on the security issues. Opponents worry the changes the department is proposing, including restricting law enforcement access, won't do anything to protect patient privacy.

"We really hope the DOH is willing to go back to the table to consider recommendations that the ACLU put forth, and come back with something that sort of makes sense," said Pamela Burch, lobbyist of ACLU of Florida.

"Critics fear DOH will make security changes without adding the feedback from the public hearing, forcing the skeptics to rely on lawmakers next spring at the capitol," Stubblefield said.

"At some point we will be reviewing the next iteration of the proposed rules," said Burch.

The agency said it will publish its proposal in September and take public comments before adopting any changes.

Any changes are expected to take place by September.