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Data breaches can cause headaches for medical providers

October 17, 2012
Uncategorized By LW Consulting Inc.

This blog has reported time and time again how important it is to remain HIPAA compliant and avoid data breaches. Patient information needs to stay secure and medical facilities need to ensure that all staff members know about HIPAA compliance and how to best keep health information safe. All technologies, computers and laptops need to have strong encryption settings that can keep hackers at bay.

Doctors who view health information through smartphones and tablets should also make sure to have effective security measures taken on these devices. Data breaches can cost hospitals and medical practices millions of dollars and the trust of patients is irreplaceable in such a scenario.

American Medical News reported that one facility had to settle HIPAA violations for $1.5 million over a lost laptop. After a doctor from a Massachusetts-based hospital had his laptop stolen while traveling, a report of the incident had to be filed with the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The organization found at least six areas in which the hospital was not HIPAA compliant.

"In an age when health information is stored and transported on portable devices such as laptops, tablets and mobile phones, special attention must be paid to safeguarding the information held on these devices," Leon Rodriguez, director of HHS' Office for Civil Rights, said in a statement. "This enforcement action emphasizes that compliance with the HIPAA privacy and security rules must be prioritized by management and implemented throughout an organization, from top to bottom."

Medical providers that need help with remaining HIPAA compliant would be wise to confer with consultants experienced in healthcare IT consulting. These professionals will aid a hospital in providing necessary knowledge to their staff.