Security breaches cost California hospitals $675,000
Contributed by Roumiana Deltcheva
(Monday, June 21, 2010) |
Recently, five hospitals in California were fined a total of $675,000 for various breaches involving their medical records, the Seattle Times reports.
In Marysville, 17 security guards at the Rideout Memorial Hospital accessed and looked through the medical files of 33 patients. At the University of California, Los Angeles' Ronald Reagan Medical Center, an employee used the hospital's system to look up information for a deceased patient, believed to be Michael Jackson, according to reports. In another case, employees at Kaiser Permanente purportedly gained entrance to the medical record system to view the file of the "Octomom," Nadya Suleman.
The violations assessed to these hospitals and two others were discovered through audits of computer records, which the hospitals report to the state themselves.
While some of the violations involved electronic systems, a similar number occurred with paper files, which are being pushed out as President Barack Obama has mandated all healthcare organizations make the switch to electronic health record systems by 2014. With electronic systems in place, organizations can install greater security measures and can also place trails on anyone accessing files in an effort to augment data-leak prevention.
These systems should improve efficiency at healthcare organizations, as doctors and the like can all have access to real-time data. In addition, with Network World reporting the cost of a breach costs organizations between $30 and $150 per compromised file, the switch can potentially save a large amount of money.