Large EMR Audit Reveals Data Breach Possibilities

Side Note: A newer form of medical liability is becoming more and more of a threat for physicians and it has nothing to do with the doctor-patient encounter. This new liability, which is sometimes covered under a physician’s med mal policy and sometimes is not covered, has to do with the patient’s electronic medical records and the possibility of a data breach. With the advent of electronic medical records, physicians are sometimes learning the hard way that they have to guard and treat their patients’ medical records the way they treat and guard their patients’ health.

The article below discusses two reports from the DHHS Office of Inspector General and the 151 vulnerabilities found at 7 hospitals studied. As you’d expect, most of the problems found had to do with computer security and wireless issues. For specifics, and a discussion of HIPAA’s role in this, read on.

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Audit finds hospital EMRs vulnerable to data breaches
By: Charles Fiegl
Posted: May 26, 2011
From: www.AMedNews.com

Stressed physician facing an EMR databreachWashington — Efforts to launch electronic medical records in hospitals have proceeded without ensuring that proper data safeguards are in place, according to two reports from the Dept. of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General.

An audit uncovered 151 vulnerabilities in health information technology systems at seven hospitals between October 2008 and March 2010. This left patient information exposed to anyone who might have gained unauthorized access to internal networks, according to a May report.

The Full Article is Here