Saturday, October 24, 2009

Health Care Privacy Still Needs Intensive Care

Health care privacy, to say the least, is still critically ill, according to a recent study last week of health care IT security professionals by the Ponemon Institute. The survey found that 80 percent of health care organizations had experienced at least one breach of health records in the past year.

Added to that, 70 percent of respondents said their management didn't think privacy and data security were a priority.

The professionals surveyed expressed concern that with the push for electronic health records, security had to get more attention. Few dispute the value of centralized and easily available medical records -- something that could save lives -- but those records should only be available to those who need them, not crooks and identity thieves.

Hospitals and medical institutions continue to lag behind other industries in protecting data, privacy and IT security. And, despite the complaints about the effectiveness of PCI, the corresponding regulation for health care, HIPAA, has little teeth.

A breach at Express Scripts in St. Louis last year may have impacted as many as 700,000 people.

SearchSecurity.com ran an article last week explaining new HIPAA provisions and tips for implementing an effective HIPAA program.

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