The healthcare industry faces unique information governance challenges. The management of sensitive patient data has increasingly become a concern for hospitals and medical practices as the introduction of new technologies has left these organizations vulnerable. The Ponemon Institute/Experian Data Breach Resolution Report examined how organizations in several industries, including healthcare, are working to prevent and respond to data breaches. The 2013 report found that, of those surveyed
- 94% reported experiencing a data breach in the past two years
- 39% said they had no data breach response plan in place
- 30% said they had trained customer service staff to respond to data breach-related questions
- 21% said they had trained communications teams to respond to questions about a data breach
- 19% said they are equipped with appropriate tools to determine the size and cause of a data breach
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The mishandling of information by employees and medical professionals leaves these organizations open to lawsuits, fines, brand damage, and data breach. Regulations like the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) have placed stringent standards on organizations to protect private patient information, and while the survey found that health care organizations have a clear understanding of the risks and potential consequences of data breaches, many are not taking adequate steps to protect themselves.