If you are like anyone else associated with the healthcare industry, you shudder every time you see news about a hospital losing patient files. Hospital data loss is a very real problem that every healthcare facility faces. Are you doing everything you can to prevent these losses?
Late last year, hospital data loss was reported at a facility in California, resulting in the information of 729,000 patients getting into the wrong hands. All this information was stored on two laptops, which were stolen from the hospital. Despite the fact that the room from which these computers were stolen was video monitored and the floor was gated and patrolled by security, the thieves made off with the laptops.
The laptops included information about the patients, including their names, Medicare or insurance information, payment records and their diagnosis and procedure codes. Not all of the files contained the Social Security numbers of the patients, however, some did.
As you know, whenever a hospital goes through something like this, administrators are required to report the breach if it involves 500 or more people. This breach was actually the 11 largest in history
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) takes these security breaches quite seriously. In March of last year, the HHS made sweeping changes to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) that included stronger privacy related documentation provisions. Furthermore, penalties for data breaches can now be as much as $1.5 million per incident. Hospital data loss, especially for the smaller, critical care facilities, can put a significant dent in the ability of that facility to remain in business.
Almost everything regarding patient image data has gone digital. There are still facilities that use CD burning technology as their primary means of storing and sharing medical images, but this technology is considered costly and cumbersome. CDs are often misplaced, which represents a threat to the privacy of the patient. Perhaps even more damaging in the patient care aspect is that doctors are slower to come to a diagnosis when CDs are part of the process.
A more efficient and secure way for you to work with medical images is to use a cloud-based system that utilizes Level IV datacenters. These datacenters employ some of the most comprehensive security measures available today. They also cover your medical images with disaster recovery protection, which means you’ll always have access to your images.
One company that is working on the side of the rural healthcare facilities is OffSite Image Management, Inc. If you are employed at one of the rural facilities, you know that your resources are limited, which means you might forego a little security if it means you can provide better care to your patients. However, you’re putting yourself at risk of heavy penalties should that patient information ever become compromised. OffSite uses the most secure datacenters and gives its clients secure URLs from which they can access critical data that is sensitive to the privacy of the patient. Our solutions at OffSite are affordable, safe and secure, which means rural facilities like yours are a perfect match for the OffSite solution.