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Hospitals working harder to keep patient data secure

December 20, 2012
Uncategorized By LW Consulting Inc.

With technology becoming more prevalent to the daily operations of medical facilities, more organizations have paired with firms specializing in healthcare IT consulting. This has helped ensure that all employees understand the intricacies of evolving systems - such as electronic medical records (EMRs) and e-prescribing software - and are up-to-date on how to keep patient data secure.

Reports show that healthcare organizations have been more successful in protecting sensitive information by keeping themselves HIPAA compliant. According to Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society's (HIMSS) recent survey, privacy and security budgets have increased over the last year.

Specifically, 56 percent of the 303 health IT and security professionals queried said that their organization has increased the amount of IT budget allocated for information safety. There was still 47 percent of respondents, though, who said that their organization spends 3 percent or less of the overall IT budget on such measures.

"Five years ago, only 54 percent of respondents conducted [risk assessments] on an annual basis," the survey's authors said. "Today, that number is up to nearly three-quarters of respondents. This suggests that not only will more organizations have access to information that will help them better secure electronic information, but they will also have this information available in a more timely fashion."

The report added that 25 percent of respondents said that their organization had suffered a data breach in the past year, with most indicating that patients were informed about the breach.

No organization wants to experience a breach of security, as it can bring serious financial consequences for failing to stay HIPAA compliant. Working with hospital consultants who are experts in healthcare IT consulting will ensure that medical facilities can remain diligent in keeping patient data secure, while still integrating new systems into their repertoire.