Physician Lifestyle

Small medical practices more susceptible to health data breaches

October 16, 2013


Out-of-date technology and lack of sophistication in data security protection make many small medical practices susceptible to health data breaches, according to a Kroll Fraud Solutions cybersecurity trends forecast, an annual report on key areas of risk and cyber threats.

Jason Straight, managing director of Kroll’s Cyber Security and Information Assurance unit, said that many small practices tend not to have the technical expertise to adopt tools that help prevent breaches.

Some practices are vulnerable due to ongoing use of legacy systems – weakened by postponed or overlooked upgrades and replacements, or because their data encryption tools were installed incorrectly. Other practices have the tools but not the know-how to implement or monitor them appropriately.

Steps to help minimize the risk of health data breaches at small practices should include:

  • A culture of data security emphasis, including training on security policies and enforcement of those policies
  • Formation of an incident response plan and team that is involved in daily operations of the organization
  • A document retention policy that describes how patient information is to be handled

With the penalties for medical data leaks so potentially severe, it’s more important than ever for practices to keep data secure.

Adapted from January 16, 2012 “Small medical practices greatly at risk for data breaches” by Pamela Lewis Dolan, American Medical News, Copyright © 2013 American Medical Association (AMA). All rights reserved. http://www.amednews.com/article/20120116/business/301169970/2/. Used with permission.

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