Safeguarding Patient Information

Keeping patient information confidential is one of the most important issues concerning both patients and their medical providers. The reason for this is clear. Public exposure of private health information can lead to a lot of hardship for patients. These hardships can include identity theft, fraud and embarrassment. Medical providers never intend for private information about their patients get out, but large data leaks of private patient information remains a large problem for medical providers throughout the United States.

There are several different reasons why private patient information is so vulnerable to leaks. Medical offices and companies tend to be behind the times when it comes to computer security and technology. This can leave them open to simple computer attacks. Without integrated systems in medical-organizations there tends to be a lot of duplicate files, which create ripe opportunities for thieves to steal data. Defragmenting data and technology in medical offices and organizations is essential for keeping patient information private.

Eric Johnson from the Wall Street Journal suggests several approaches to solving the problem. Security managers should take close inventory of data throughout an organization in order to determine vulnerabilities and best practices for securing data. Access restrictions should be implemented as not everyone in a health company would need to see all available data about patients. Most of all, data technology should be easy to use for doctors in order to encourage use of information systems that emphasize security.


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