March 13, 2014

Healthcare professionals believe the Affordable Care Act jeopardizes the safety of patient data, according to Ponemon Institute's Fourth Annual Benchmark Study on Patient Privacy and Data Security.

In fact, 69% of respondents believe Obamacare increases or significantly increases risk to patient security and privacy, the study said. Three-fourths are concerned about the exchange of data between healthcare providers and government agencies; 65% worry about patient data being stored in insecure databases; and 63% cited patient registration on insecure websites.

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Likewise, 66% of accountable care organizations (ACOs) believe the risks to patient privacy and security due to the exchange of patient health information has grown. Confidence in health information exchange security is low, too: 32% are somewhat confident and 40% are not confident in exchanges' ability to securely share patient data.

Vulnerabilities are especially worrisome given the growing criminal interest in healthcare records. Criminal attacks on hospitals increased 100% in four years, demonstrating both the value thieves place on patient records and the many ways data is lost and stolen.

Of the 91 health organizations studied, 90% suffered at least one data breach in the past two years, said Larry Ponemon during a conference call. The number of organizations suffering multiple breaches has declined, though, according to the study.

[ Read the rest of this article on InformationWeek. ]