Patient Privacy and Data Security

“A lot of healthcare organizations figure their mission in life is to treat people and get them well, it’s really not about patient data security,” Larry Ponemon, chairman and founder of the Ponemon Institute, told InformationWeek Healthcare.

But, of course, it is about patient data security too – and that was his point.

Ponemon was discussing the 2011 Benchmark Study on Patient Privacy and Data Security by Ponemon Institute. One of the most significant findings was that data breaches have risen by 32% in 2011compared to 2010. Most of the data breaches were due to employee mistakes and carelessness – 49% of study respondents cited lost or stolen computing devices while 41 % noted unintentional employee action.

The report estimates that data losses and security breaches cost the U.S. healthcare industry about $6.5 million.

One clear message the study sends is that healthcare organizations – like all organizations that handle sensitive information – need to increase awareness among employees about the importance of safeguarding private information.

Safeguarding means protecting sensitive information until it is no longer needed, then disposing of documents securely. Shredding confidential documents with Citishred is a secure and trusted method of destruction.

To help determine the level of awareness of document security throughout your organization and your potential risks, take this Risk Assessment Survey.

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