Why Is Your Health Information on the Internet?

Health information from healthcare practices (and patients) is viewable on the internet.

A worst case scenario; a nightmare (that you are experiencing while you are awake)–Whatever you call it, a breach of health information is a serious violation with associated and potentially devastating penalties and consequences.

Most healthcare providers say, “that can’t happen to us.”  However, not only has it happened locally, but it recently happened to Boston Medical Center’s transcription service provider.

Boston Medical Center sent letters to the patients notifying them of the internet data breach on the website operated by MDF Transcription Services.  A health care provider reported the records of about 15,000 patients at the hospital were posted without password protection on the vendor’s website used by physicians.  The records contained patients’ names, addresses, and medical information, including what drugs they were taking, but did not include Social Security numbers or financial information. Article.

This is a data breach.  Thus, it can happen to you, it can happen to your healthcare vendors, and over time, it might happen to you.

Healthcare providers must understand the seriousness of the violations, and the fact that the healthcare regulations have been around for over a decade.  Although healthcare providers, as a whole, have been slow to adopt the required safeguards, the Federal Government is imposing significant fines as a decade is surely enough time for healthcare providers to comply with the applicable regulations.

Do not get caught off guard.

If your practice:

1) uses, or discloses health information; or

2) is a healthcare provider that works with a business associate (law firm, transcription service, billing company, etc.),

You must be proactive and take appropriate steps to comply with healthcare regulations, and make sure the entities you work with properly protect your data.

Failure to do so can result in devastating penalties.

If you or your entity needs assistance with the intricacies of protecting and safeguarding health information, please do not hesitate to contact our office – we can help.  For assistance CLICK HERE.

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