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HHS Rolls Out Mobile-based Data Protection Initiative

December 12, 2012
by Gabriel Perna
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The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recently launched an education initiative and set of online tools that aim to provide healthcare organizations various tips on how to protect patients’ protected health information (PHI) when using mobile devices such as laptops, tablets, and smartphones. The initiative, Mobile Devices: Know the RISKS. Take the STEPS. PROTECT and SECURE Health Information, offers videos, easy-to-download fact sheets, and posters to promote best ways to safeguard patient health information.

“The use of mobile health technology holds great promise in improving health and health care, but the loss of health information can have a devastating impact on the trust that patients have in their providers.  It’s important that these tools are used correctly,” Joy Pritts, HHS’ Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) chief privacy officer, said in a statement. “Health care providers, administrators and their staffs must create a culture of privacy and security across their organizations to ensure the privacy and security of their patients’ protected health information.”

The protection of mobile devices is one of the industry’s greatest threats, according to numerous experts and leaders. In a recent study, it was revealed 94 percent of healthcare organizations have suffered at least one data breach, while an astounding 45 percent of organizations have experienced more than five data breaches during the past two years.

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