Many lessons can be learned from the breach. The most important lesson is to make your practice’s patient health information security a priority.
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The Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Center lost an unencrypted flash drive in the mail.
The flash drive contained 2,808 patient names, administrative numbers, and the attending physician names. Luckily, the drive did not include any social security numbers, dates of birth or financial information.
Karmanos is currently notifying the affected patients and family members. Karmanos has also taken steps to prevent similar breaches in the future.
What are some of the lessons that can be learned from the Karmanos incident?
- Encrypt everything! This includes flash drives and any transmittal or electronic storage of patient information.
- Perform your required HIPAA risk assessment – stay up to date with policies and procedures, know where your problem areas are, and be aware of how your patient information is stored and transmitted. Take the necessary steps to correct potential weaknesses.
- Train your staff! Staff should know how important security and privacy are, and should know how to use encryption software.
- Have a plan in place for when breaches occur.
Breaches can occur at any time, whether it is due to a staff error or oversight, or at the hands of a criminal cyberhacker. We help our clients prepare for both and complete their risk assessments.
Learn from the Karmanos breach, so that you don’t have to learn from your own.
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P.S. If you or your patients are interested in consumer healthcare issues, check out myhealthspin.com.