Healthcare Data- Risks and Reward
As always, with new advances in technology that make lives easier always come with risks. Infosecurity reported on the results of a panel discussion between healthcare experts regarding healthcare data security, coming to interesting yet not very surprising conclusions: "2011 will be the year that Americans recognize they can't control personal health information in health IT systems and data exchanges. Will 2011 be the year that data security and privacy are the top of the nation's agenda? I hope so", said Deborah Peel, a panel member and founder of Patient Privacy Rights. The panel warned that the finalization of data breach notification rules by the Department of Health and Human Services this year could remove "harm threshold" provision that determines whether notification is required when a data breach incident occurs. If this threshold is removed, this would create a risk of over notification and desensitization of patients, it added. "The healthcare industry is on the verge of a major shift. Organizations are venturing into the electronic world for the first time as practices implementing electronic health records and states are launching health information exchanges. A surge of new data will be brought online by a lot of inexperienced organizations fueled by monetary government incentives. Mistakes are a certainty. Combine this with sophisticated approaches to identity theft by organized crime, and breaches will happen. When a breach occurs, the way the organization handles it publicly will be critical", concluded panel member Ernie Hood, chief information officer of Group Health Cooperative.