Study Suggests Healthcare Industry Falling Short In Protecting Digital Records

A new report from consulting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers says the healthcare industry is falling short in efforts to safeguard patients' privacy from digital data breaches.

medical on computer The report says existing privacy and security controls are not keeping pace with the spread of access to information in electronic health records. As a result, PricewaterhouseCoopers says, medical identity theft and other data breaches appear to be on the rise.

Dean Sittig is a professor at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston.

"You know we’re moving forward really fast with new technologies, and social media, and cell phones, and things like that, and so the risk of these privacy breaches is increasing almost faster than we can keep up with it in terms of our policies and our controls."

Sittig says there are a lot of things health care organizations can and should be doing to increase the security of digital records. But he says privacy protections need to be weighed carefully against the ability of doctors to access such records at any time. Sittig says that kind of access, impossible with paper records, is necessary both to improve patient care and hold down costs.

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Andrew Schneider

Business Reporter

Andrew Schneider joined KUHF in January 2011, after more than a decade as a print reporter for The Kiplinger Letter...