Survey: Security Risks Still of Great Concern to Healthcare Orgs | Healthcare Informatics Magazine | Health IT | Information Technology Skip to content Skip to navigation

Survey: Security Risks Still of Great Concern to Healthcare Orgs

March 4, 2015
by Rajiv Leventhal
| Reprints

Just 36 percent of healthcare organizations said that within their entity, security and compliance policies are at most only moderately enforced, according to a survey from the Morristown, N.J.-based health information service provider (HISP) DataMotion.

The survey is the third annual from DataMotion, covering corporate email and file transfer habits. There were more than 300 respondents from the healthcare industry alone, with 780 IT and business decision-makers from across the U.S. and Canada participating in total. While healthcare has made gains, the survey reveals employees violating security and compliance policies, risk-taking with sensitive data, a lack of encryption, major vulnerabilities in mobile, and a surprising lack of awareness about Direct secure messaging.

While companies in all industries increasingly have put security and compliance policies in place—nearly 90 percent of all respondents affirming that in 2014 (compared to 81 percent in 2013)—the growth is largely from healthcare entities. However, challenges remain for healthcare when it comes to implementing these, ranging from low employee comprehension to policy violations. Additionally, a lack of encryption, risks in mobile device usage and low awareness of Direct pose serious issues for the highly regulated industry, according to the survey.

According to the results:

  • 73 percent of respondents said employees/co-workers either occasionally or routinely violate these security and compliance policies (compared to 81 percent across all industries)
  • Key to making policies work is ensuring employee comprehension. When asked if they thought employees fully understood these types of policies, more than a third in healthcare said no, just a slight improvement over those from other industries.
  • When asked about common reasons why policies are violated, 52.7 percent from healthcare said it was because employees were not aware of the policy or that they were in violation. Another 29.1 percent said employees didn’t understand policies. Most troubling perhaps, 18.2 percent said policies were intentionally violated by employees to get their job done.
  • 80.8 percent of healthcare respondents affirmed they’re permitted to use mobile devices for email. Yet, of those that permit email on a mobile device and have encryption at their organization, 31.3 percent cannot send and receive encrypted email from their mobile client.
  • Nearly a quarter of healthcare respondents reported they don’t have the capability to encrypt email.
  • Nearly 42 percent of healthcare respondents said they’re unaware of Direct. And of those who are aware of Direct, 42 percent say their organization is not using the alternative to email encryption.

“Though the survey shows year-over-year growth in the number of companies putting security and compliance measures in place, the widespread security risks occurring are of great concern,” Bob Janacek, chief technology officer at DataMotion, said in a news release statement. “Particularly at a time when organizations have experienced serious data breaches, it’s essential for companies to have strong policies and ensure employees fully understand and follow these. While healthcare has made gains in policy development, it’s all for naught if implementation fails, especially in such a highly regulated industry.”

Topics

News

NewYork-Presbyterian, Walgreens Partner on Telemedicine Initiative

NewYork-Presbyterian and Walgreens are collaborating to bring expanded access to NewYork-Presbyterian’s healthcare through new telemedicine services, the two organizations announced this week.

ONC Releases Patient Demographic Data Quality Framework

The Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) developed a framework to help health systems, large practices, health information exchanges and payers to improve their patient demographic data quality.

AMIA, Pew Urge Congress to Ensure ONC has Funding to Implement Cures Provisions

The Pew Charitable Trusts and the American Medical Informatics Association (AMIA) have sent a letter to congressional appropriators urging them to ensure that ONC has adequate funding to implement certain 21st Century Cures Act provisions.

Former Michigan Governor to Serve as Chair of DRIVE Health

Former Michigan Governor John Engler will serve as chair of the DRIVE Health Initiative, a campaign aimed at accelerating the U.S. health system's transition to value-based care.

NJ Medical Group Launches Statewide HIE, OneHealth New Jersey

The Medical Society of New Jersey (MSNJ) recently launched OneHealth New Jersey, a statewide health information exchange (HIE) that is now live.

Survey: 70% of Providers Using Off-Premises Computing for Some Applications

A survey conducted by KLAS Research found that 70 percent of healthcare organizations have moved at least some applications or IT infrastructure off-premises.