Report: Healthcare Organizations Under-Prepared to Protect Patients' Information

A report (pdf) by the Health Research Institute at PricewaterhouseCoopers found evidence suggesting healthcare organizations are currently under-prepared to protect patients' information, according to a PwC news release.

The report, "Old data learns new tricks: Managing patient privacy and security on a new data-sharing playground," found that 54 percent of health organizations reported at least one issue with information privacy and security over the past two years. What's more, more than 55 percent of health organizations surveyed have not addressed privacy and security issues related to mobile devices and less than 25 percent have addressed social media-related issues.

Improper use of protected health information by an internal party was the most frequently reported issue, with 40 percent of providers reporting an incident of this kind. The high incidence of insiders' improper use of data may be due to inadequate training: Only 37 percent of organizations include approved uses of mobile devices and social media as part of privacy training, and only 58 percent of providers and 41 percent of health insurers include appropriate use of electronic health records in employee training.

The report suggested healthcare organizations need to adopt a more integrated approach to data privacy and security to protect patients' information and maintain compliance with federal regulations. PwC said organizations that have used an integrated approach, such as by creating a culture of privacy and security, experienced fewer data breach issues.

Related Articles on Data Security:

IU School of Medicine Reports Possible Data Breach of 3,192 Patients' Records
Stanford Hospital Data Breach Affects More Than 20k Patients

HHS Reports Data Breaches of Protected Health Information in 2009-2010 to Congress

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