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Improper care of patient information could lead to data breach

August 30, 2012
Uncategorized By LW Consulting Inc.

Previously mentioned in this blog is the importance of security within medical facilities, especially with the increased use of electronic medical records (EMRs). With patient data readily available through computers, it makes it easier for criminals to find things like social security numbers or insurance information located in one place.

For example, the Cancer Care Group announced last week that as many as 55,000 patients could have had their personal health information (PHI) exposed. In mid-July, a laptop was stolen from a healthcare employee's locked vehicle, according to the Indiana Business Journal.

For those installing IT systems and looking to secure data, a hospital consultant can assist during the implementation process and ensure that employees are aware of possible risks and thus take extreme care in keeping patient data protected.

Last week, the Institute for Health Technology Transformation held a summit that focused on data collection and the proliferation of mobile medical devices, according to a Healthcare IT News article.

Doctor Thomas Payne, medical director of IT services for UW Medicine, said that security concerns are always a top priority, as the problem isn't receiving the data. Instead, the issue is regulating how it's used and who uses it.

According to the panelists, physicians are being immersed in data and need to be given the proper tools to ensure that they can make use of all of the information at the point of care. Specifically, Payne said that too much data or a lack of analysis could "break the camel's back."

To ensure that patients continue to receive the best possible care, and that employees within medical facilities understand the new systems, organizations should pair with a healthcare consulting company. These professionals will be able to teach workers the proper way to use changing technologies - EMRs or e-prescriptions, for example - while still keeping patient care a top priority.