Security Breach Fears Concern Health IT Advocates

August 7, 2009

Health officials overseeing the move for health care information technology (HIT) under government incentives are concerned that breaches of EHR systems are a serious possibility and that preventative measures need to be put in place.

Health officials overseeing the move for health care information technology (HIT) under government incentives are concerned that breaches of EHR systems are a serious possibility and that preventative measures need to be put in place.

There are laws in place that require physicians to make sure that patient information is protected, according to the article, though the Identity Theft Resource Center states that “health organizations publicly disclosed 97 data breaches in 2008, up from 64 in 2007.” The government has emphasized the need to keep EHR protected, but has been unclear about how to secure patient data, nor has it proposed any measures for doing so, the Journal article also stated.

There are tools that exist to help organizations that have EHR prevent breaches from occurring, according to an article from iHealthBeat, but “many small physicians' offices or clinics do not have such resources.”

Some physicians feel that more needs to be done to keep the information in an EHR protected.

"If there isn't a concerted effort to acknowledge that the security risks are very real and very serious, then we could end up doing it wrong,” said Avi Rubin, technical director of the Information Security Institute at Johns Hopkins University.

To see more stories about the government’s push for H IT, please click on the links below:

1. Continued Use of Pen and Paper with EMR may Provide Insight for Improved EMR Development

2. Revision of "Meaningful Use" Definition Gains Approval of HIT Policy Committee

3. Will the HITECH Act Incentives Convince You to Use an EHR?