IT Security and Record Management in Healthcare

Dr. Zachary Peterson, a Senior Security Analyst at Independent Security Evaluators, writes:

With the introduction of computers to the health care system, paper medical records have given way to their electronic counterparts, allowing information to be easily accessed, shared and modified. Systems for managing electronic records are now commonplace in all major and health care related institutions. They increase productivity, disappear geographic boundaries, and improve quality of service. It is not all good news, however.

The same features of electronic records that make them beneficial can also be used for malicious purposes. Duplicate records can be made instantaneously and clandestinely, threatening privacy. The loss of 26.5 million veteran medical records by the VA is a notable example. Electronic records are also extremely malleable, leaving open the possibility of forgery and falsification — a physician involved in a malpractice suit may wish to alter the record.

Indeed, the importance of securing and authenticating electronic records transcends health care, and has led legislators to create an ever increasing body of electronic record management legislation. There now exists many federal, state and local pieces of legislation that govern the management of electronic records, requiring corporations and government agencies alike to rethink their current electronic record systems. This is particularly true for health care entities with the passage of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).

Read the entire post – The Healthcare IT Guy

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