The health care field is under plenty of scrutiny when it comes to security, given the sensitivity of patient information. Although organizations can focus on shoring up critical internal defenses all they want, sometimes employee devices are to blame for such incidents.
The Los Angeles Times recently reported that the health care information of 729,000 patients within the AHMC hospital group was exposed after two laptops were stolen from an administration building located in San Gabriel Valley hospital. Data obtained in the breach included names, payment records, Social Security numbers, diagnoses, insurance ID numbers and other content.
AHMC officials said that there are no facts to suggest that patient information has been used in any way, but it cannot rule out that such activity has taken place, the news source reported.
"We regret any inconvenience or concern this incident may cause our patients," AHMC stated, according to The Los Angeles Times.
Health care organizations that want to make sure patient information is kept safe while employees are sending, receiving or storing sensitive data should make sure workers are using the necessary tools. For example, secure file sharing solutions safeguard content while it is in transit or at rest, minimizing the chance that a breach will occur.
The news provider reported that AHMC plans to employ encryption solutions for all of its laptops soon to avoid potential incidents in the future.
The negative results of a breach
Health care organizations that fail to keep patient data safe at all times will face hefty compliance fines if they cannot follow strict industry regulations. In addition to money loss stemming from these incidents, the public distrust that may occur following a breach will put a health provider in a precarious position. If people do not feel confident that an organization has its best interests at heart, they will likely search elsewhere for certain services.
The ability for physicians and nurses to share patient information digitally is a gift when it comes to efficiency, yet also a burden if this data is not safeguarded. This is why solutions such as secure file sharing tools are so valuable because they minimize the likelihood that an organization will expose content that could lead to a bevy of problems down the road.