Study Finds Security and Privacy is Low Priority for Health Care Organizations

The recent Ponemon Institute benchmark study on patient data privacy and security practices sheds some much-needed light on the practice of data protection within our nation’s hospitals. According to the study, today’s hospitals have little confidence in their ability to secure patient records, revealing just how vulnerable they are to data breaches – a concern for all patients.

Some of the key findings:

  • Data breaches in the health care industry cost the U.S. $6 billion annually
  • 58% of organizations have little or no confidence in their ability to appropriately secure patient records
  • 70% of hospitals say that data protection is not a priority
  • 71% of organizations have inadequate resources to handle data breaches
  • 69% have insufficient policies and procedures in place to prevent and quickly detect patient data loss

While these statistics are alarming, they certainly don’t come as a surprise to those in the industry. Hospitals have been dealing with a lack of protected data for years, but it has yet to be adequately addressed. With such private, sensitive information at hand, security must become a more important initiative for hospitals.

Why is there such a lack of focus on the privacy and security of patient information? How can health care organizations be better prepared for data breaches? What actionable steps can hospitals take to ensure patient data is thoroughly protected?

It’s time for those in the industry to make security and protecting patient data a top priority. I encourage you to read the Ponemon study and post your thoughts below. What have you experiences been? What solutions do you recommend?