I am building a system that's going to host medical records for the users.

The system needs to be secure, so that only the users with correct auth can access their data (data will be encrypted, so not even the devs can access user data).

But at the same time, it needs to be convenient, so that a user can "Forget his password", and certified doctors can access the user's data in emergency cases, without the user's consent.

I know that it's not logically possible to achieve 100% convenience and privacy at the same time, but is there an acceptable balance that i can consider "OK" that will satisfy the user ?

  • This is not the sort of situation where there can be a "generally accepted" balance. It depends on the data, the use case, the risks, and the perception of convenience.
    – schroeder
    Feb 21, 2020 at 7:41

1 Answer 1


Yes, there are usually laws/regulations about storing medical record data. In the US it is the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), you should definitely know about your obligations under whatever regulations apply before offering such a product.

In other medical record systems it is common to allow doctors in emergency medicine to access any record at any time, but with an audit trail specifically for emergency access. They basically have to provide justification afterward. Sort of a "break glass in case of emergency" thing. These record systems have verified the identity of the doctors previously though, so this might not work for your app if the doctors are unknown.

Trying to say that the data is encrypted with a user password, so users don't need to really trust you, is not valid. It would always be possible for your app to skim someone's password or data in an update. Ultimately they need to trust your company completely to handle this data, end of story. Being trustworthy means having an entire security infrastructure in place, including but not limited to, encryption at rest. It means physical security, good IT practices, auditing of code, background checks... probably a lot more.

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