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Healthcare industry data breaches have, unfortunately, become a more frequent occurrence in recent years. This information is tracked through the Health and Human Services (HHS) online breach portal. The portal has been dubbed the “Wall of Shame” and shows a higher rate of breaches over the past three years. It was put in place in 2009 to provide data, as required by section 13402(e)(4) of the HITECH Act, to “post a list of breaches of unsecured protected health information affecting 500 or more individuals.” Although the information provided contains the type and location of the breach, the portal does not provide more specifics which could help healthcare officials and I.T. professionals learn more about why the breaches are occurring.
Tracking trends in healthcare breaches is the key and the Protenus Breach Barometer is one of the best ways to reveal those trends. It utilizes data compiled by DataBreaches.net to provide a monthly snapshot which can be used to better combat specific issues. Prior year data, month over month, reveals that hacking and issues occurring from within healthcare organizations are the two main culprits of the data breaches. Those inside Issues include mistakes made by staff as well as malicious attempts by employees to obtain secure data.
As we have mentioned in previous blog posts, technology is not always fail proof when it comes to human error, but consistent employee training and everyday awareness can reduce the rate at which errors occur. Training all staff to constantly be aware of malicious attempts by insiders to steal electronic personal health information (ePHI) can help thwart an attack before it occurs. Simple, daily, communication can help raise awareness and keep all employees on alert. In addition, with the increasing rate of breaches, increasing the rate at which healthcare data audits are performed can help limit damage should employee errors occur.
Addressing issues outside of an organization that involve hacking can be much more difficult. Hackers are increasingly more sophisticated in their attempts at obtaining highly valuable healthcare data than they have been in the past. However, just as hackers are persistent, highly reputable I.T. companies, such as Data-Fast Solutions, are just as persistent at stopping them. Through on-going education, training, and analyzing data breach trends, the healthcare I.T. industry is constantly learning new ways to progress.
With healthcare information technology, knowledge of issues after they occur is not enough. In addition to current technology, and ethical employees who understand the importance of protecting ePHI, getting to the root of data breach problems will help organizations become more proactive in their on-going approach. For assistance with your healthcare I.T. audit or to implement a more secure healthcare system for your organization, contact Data-Fast Solutions today.
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