How is your patient PHI stored?

If you use a file-sharing app, you might want to think twice. A Massachusetts hospital is paying a fine of $218,400.00 and must reevaluate its privacy and security policies.

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After a file-sharing complaint and a HIPAA breach, St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center in Brighton has to pay the Office of Civil Rights (OCR) for its violations.

The lesson to be learned for all practices is to be weary of web-based document-sharing applications and to take data security seriously.

The hospital failed to analyze the security risks for the patient protected health information (PHI).

Can internet based document sharing applications be used by hospitals and practices without running the risk of costly OCR fines and breaches?

Yes, so long as practices are aware of the risks and have adequate policies and procedures in place.

Start with your HIPAA Risk Assessment to analyze areas of risk. We help our clients put their risk assessment in place and follow through with thorough employee training.

The OCR has issued $26.4 Million in fines to covered entities and business associates. The fines have been for various violations of HIPAA privacy, security and breach notification rules.

It is essential for you to prepare your practice and protect your patient PHI.

Make sure to tailor your practice’s policies and procedures to ensure security of PHI, no matter how or where your data is stored. More policies will be necessary if you use an internet-based application, as there is a large potential for breaches.

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P.S. If you or your patients are interested in consumer healthcare issues, check out myhealthspin.com.

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