45% of hospitals support password sharing for caregivers to access patient health information

EHR vendors and hospitals must team up to improve the availability and setup of proxy accounts within patient portals in order to ensure patient health information remains private and secure, according to a recent JAMA Internal Medicine study. 

For the study, Winston-Salem, N.C.-based Wake Forest School of Medicine, Charlotte-based University of North Carolina and Canada-based University of Manitoba researchers analyzed 102 U.S. hospitals. The research team conducted a telephone survey from May 21, 2018, to Dec. 20, 2018, of one independent hospital and one health system-affiliated hospital from every U.S. state and Washington, D.C. 

For the surveys, an interviewer called each hospital and posed as the daughter of an older adult patient and asked about the hospital's patient portal practices, including proxy account availability, password sharing and patient control of their own records. 

Four study insights: 

1. Of the study participants, 68 percent provided proxy accounts to caregivers of adult patients, while 25 percent did not. Proxy accounts offer patients' caregivers separate login information to view select and necessary information to take care of the patient. 

2. At 7 percent of hospitals, personnel did not know if proxy accounts were available for patients' caregivers. 

3. At 94 hospitals asked about password sharing between the patient and caregiver, 45 percent of employees supported doing so. 

4. Of the hospitals that provided proxy accounts, 19 percent offered controls that allow patients to restrict the types of information their proxies could see. 

More articles on cybersecurity: 
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