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Patient Data is at Risk: Study

November 8, 2010
by root
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A new study by the Ponemon institute, LLC, Traverse City, Mich., maintains that data breaches cost healthcare organizations nearly $6 billion annually, and that many breaches go undetected. The study is sponsored by ID Experts Corp., Portland, Ore.

According to the study, protecting patient data is a low priority for hospitals and organizations have little confidence in their ability to secure patient records. The study was based on interviews with 211 senior level managers at 65 healthcare organizations.

“Our research shows that the healthcare industry is struggling to protect sensitive medical information, putting patients at risk of medical identity fraud and costing hospitals and other healthcare service companies millions in annual breach-related costs,” says Larry Ponemon, chairman and founder of the Ponemon Institute.

Key findings of the study include:

  • The average healthcare organization had 2.4 data breach incidents over the last two years; major factors causing data breaches are unintentional employee actions, lost or stolen computing devices and third-party error.
  • A majority of organizations (67 percent) have less than two staff members dedicated to data protection management.
  • A majority of respondents (71 percent) say that the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act regulations have not significantly changed management practices of patient records.



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