In the advent of changes to HIPAA and the roll out of the Affordable Care Act, the Health IT market is exploding, because patients are demanding mobile access to their medical records. Due to this increase in demand, Patient Health Information (PHI) will soon be everywhere, making the risks to patient privacy astronomical.
Medical professionals are beginning to recognize these risks. And unfortunately, so are hackers and criminals. Small medical practices, hospitals and other providers in rural and urban underserved communities often lack the resources (personnel, funding, training, documentation and time) to protect against data breaches and cyber attacks. For this reason, smaller practices are seen as the “weakest link” to hackers and criminals.
The vulnerabilities of small provider health IT activities do not occur in a bubble, however. Data breaches within small organizations may proliferate to the larger organizations they are electronically interconnected to. For some hackers, medical data is 50 times more valuable than credit card information, so a breach to a small provider is very bad news for patients who entrust them with private information.
Robert Zimmerman, QiP Solutions’ Managing Director of Health Information Technology, moderated a thought-provoking panel discussion titled “Why Risks to Small Providers Pose a Risk to All” at the second annual Health Privacy & Security Forum, presented by HIMSS Media and Health Information Technology News on September 24 in Boston.
Zimmerman was joined by Anna M. Gard, RN, FNP-BC, Health IT and Quality Consultant with the Association for the Underserved.