North American Medical Records At Risk

While you are sitting patiently during your typical 5-6 hour emergency room visit, ever wonder just how safe your records are at the doctor’s office?  Are ya ready to puke?

91% of small healthcare practices (less than 250 employees) in North America say they have suffered a data breach in the past 12 months.

The Ponemon Institute recently conducted a survey, commissioned by MegaPath, asking more than 700 healthcare organizations’ IT and administrative staff about breaches.  Among the findings:

  • 70% say their organizations either don’t have or are unsure if they have, sufficient budget to meet governance, risk, and compliance requirements.
  • 55% of respondents had to notify patients of a data breach in the previous 12 months.
  • 52% of respondents rated their security technology plans as “ineffective”.
  • 43% of respondents had experienced medical identity theft in their organizations.
  • 31% say management considers data security and privacy a top priority.  (69% not so much?)
  • 29% say breaches have resulted in medical identity theft.
  • More than a third have not assigned responsibility for patient data protection to anyone in particular.
  • Approximately half say less than 10% of IT’s budget goes to data security tools.

Data breaches of patient information cost healthcare organizations nearly $6 billion annually, and many breaches go undetected.  Protecting patient data appears to remain a low priority for hospitals and doctors’ offices, and these organizations have little confidence in their ability to secure patient records.  They are putting individuals at increased risk for medical identity theft, financial theft, and exposure of private information.

Are ya feeling warm and fuzzy yet?  Read the whole report.

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