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Inside TDV - The Data Vault Blog

Limiting The Exposure Of Patient Information

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As time has gone on, the healthcare industry has become increasingly regulated with regard to how it managers patient information. Privacy concerns, security requirements, and access control have been given critical seats at the table when it comes to discussing the handling of sensitive data. But even as these rules improve best practices, why does it seem like medical organizations are struggling with data breaches more than even before?

The answer may or may not surprise you, depending on your experience with the field. Research has shown that human error is easily the largest contributor to patient confidentiality breaches, with 81% of incidents having a root cause in staff mistakes or misunderstandings. Some causes are easily explainable, like unchanged passwords for seldom used software or lost computers, but others like improper disposal of documents are much more concerning. These demonstrate a lack of attentiveness to areas that have been explicitly designated for training, rather than forgetfulness.

That’s not to say that either type is more serious than the other, with malicious intruders knowing that people create digital vulnerabilities in the system all the time. As credit card numbers on the black market sell for less than a dollar a piece but medical identities go as high as $10 each, the financial incentive is for hackers to target medical facilities in pursuit of their illicit gains.

But the final question always ends up being: how to handle this threat? The best answers point to a hybrid solution being the most effective use of resources. Better training for employees in a concise manner combined with an effective records tracking and management system can maintain the level of security and privacy required in modern marketplace environments. If you have questions about best practices or want to compare your current system to an ideal environment, please do not hesitate to reach out to us and one of our experts will be in touch! As a provider of information management services for the healthcare field for 30+ years, our staff is committed to keeping up with the changing landscape that many providers find themselves in.

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