This subject isn’t very interesting outside of hospital administrators… or for hospital administrators, but there’s no denying that healthcare is one of the most important industries in our society today; and one that is having a technology overhaul at present. The influx of cheaper and more powerful technology is surely going to be a driving force for healthcare in the 21st century. Under the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH), the United States government has followed the lead of other Western nations in forcing entities to upgrade their healthcare practice’s information technology for the betterment of patients, insurers, and health care providers.
There’s only so much that the general public knows about HIPAA compliance, given that most people that are going to the doctors office aren’t really concerned about the security and availability of their sensitive digital information at that particular moment, and rightfully so. If the health or financial information that your healthcare provider has access to were to be leaked, however, there’s a good chance that you’d be exceptionally annoyed. That is only the surface of the problem, considering what people do with that information. It could lead to identity theft or many other headaches for you, the patient. That kind of maliciousness is why programs like the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act was enacted in the first place.
HIPAA protects individuals against the freedom of the modern day Internet. Basically, healthcare providers, insurers, or any entity that has access to an individual’s health information is mandated to keep their IT infrastructure HIPAA-certified in order to use information technology for their practice. This protects the health care provider and the patient from what could be irreparable harm. This has happened to millions of Americans in just the past five years. Here are four of the biggest healthcare data breaches in recent history.
4.9 million clients of Science Applications International Corporation had their healthcare information stolen from an employee's car in 2011.
4.5 million people associated with Complete Health Systems, a Tennessee-based healthcare provider, were compromised when a hacker infiltrated the company’s network earlier this year.
In 2013, just over 4 million people’s information was exposed when Advocate Health and Hospitals Corporation reported that there was hardware stolen from their organization.
Health Net in California had a data breach that resulted in 1.9 million people having their sensitive information compromised.
These organizations stand to pay an enormous price for their unpreparedness. For people all over the world, it is essential that they be able to trust their local doctor’s office with not only their personal health information, but also their financial and residency information as well. This is why, in America, the Department of Health and Human Services has begun substantially taxing health care entities found leaking patient information.
At Heart of Texas Network Consultants, we understand how important your personal data is to you. Call us today at (254) 848-7100 to find out more about how HITECH and HIPAA are changing health care or how we can help your business by providing powerful network security solutions.