Providers alerted against data breaches with their e-records

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Costs and lack of collaboration hinder technology adoption, CAST study finds
Costs and lack of collaboration hinder technology adoption, CAST study finds
Long-term care facilities might have their hands full right now with electronic health records adoption, but they should never forget about another conundrum: how to keep information secure.

Consider the case of one California nursing home, which along with six hospitals last December, received stiff fines over alleged data breaches. The California Department of Public Health assessed fines totaling $792,500 against them over failures to prevent unauthorized access to confidential patient medical information.

In a multi-industry study released early last month, researchers found that malicious or criminal attacks are the most expensive cause of breaches. And such attacks no longer are the least common type of breach.

Worse, research firm Ponemon Institute concluded that the healthcare and pharmaceutical sectors suffered the highest turnovers in confidential data and suffered significant business losses as a result.

The average cost per breached record across the 15 industries in 2010 was $214; healthcare was the fourth highest, where the cost per breached record climbed to $345 last year, up from $301 in 2009, according to the study.

Recently, the CDW Healthcare study concluded that among surveyed people who recently visited a healthcare facility, 49% said they believed that electronic health records will have a negative impact on the privacy of their personal health information.

Meanwhile, a panel of healthcare experts representing privacy, trends, technology, regulatory, data breach and governance predicted an inevitable significant “data spill” in 2011.

Among the panel's predictions for this year are heightened scrutiny of health information exchanges (“many of which will be launched by inexperienced and understaffed organizations”), increased fines and regulations, and heightened patient awareness and concern.

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