70% of healthcare facilities hit by data breaches last year

While all IT managers must take steps to prevent data breaches, those working in some industries face more danger than others.

One industry facing a lot of information security risk is health care, partially due to a rapid increase in the use of electronic medical records for patient information.

In fact, a whopping 71% of healthcare facilities have had a privacy breach in the past 12 months, according to a recent survey by security firm Vephyr.

One big issue hospitals and medical practices face is preventing breaches caused by staff members, intentionally or unintentionally. As more health information becomes electronic, it may be easier for employees to view it without authorization or accidentally give outsiders access.

For example, employees may lose discs or portable storage devices holding records. And many employees have to ask to see paper files, while it’s easy to inconspicuously bring up an electronic record if the right security controls aren’t in place.

The most common types of breaches facilities faced in the last year:

  1. Staff members snooping into their co-workers’ medical records (35%)
  2. Staffers viewing the records of friends and relatives (27%)
  3. The loss or theft of physical records (25%), and
  4. The loss or theft of equipment containing electronic records (20%).

To prevent more of those breaches, healthcare IT departments should focus not only on security tools to keep outsiders out of the EMR system, but also on employee monitoring to minimize insider threats.

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