HIPAA violations are a dangerous outcome of poor security measures within a medical facility. Those healthcare providers that commit a data breach are often left with a hefty fine and their patients may become more cautious while moving onto other hospitals. By committing HIPAA violations, providers tend to lose credibility within the industry.
As such, it is important to incorporate security procedures and encryptions when handling patient data through electronic health record systems. Teaching staff about HIPAA compliance is also vital in ensuring the safety of patient records.
With the widened use of mobile technology, doctors and nurses will also need to be careful when looking up patient data on smartphones or tablets. Reports from the Ponemon Institute and the Health Information Trust Alliance show that data breaches are still rampant, despite the fear of fines from the federal government, according to FierceHealthcare.
Out of the 80 participating healthcare organizations that were surveyed, as much as 94 percent had committed a data breach within the last two years while 45 percent said that they committed as many as five HIPAA violations within that time. Each data breach costs medical facilities an average of $6.78 billion per year.
"It's likely that many organizations had multiple data breaches, but didn't have the wherewithal to report or know about them," Larry Ponemon, chairman and founder of privacy research firm Traverse City, told the news source in an interview. "Sure, when there are big fines or reputation consequences to losing information, suddenly organizations have a new-found religion, but in general, we don't see that level of concern or cautiousness that exists in some other industries, like banking, for example."