Risk
4/24/2010
08:48 PM
George V. Hulme
George V. Hulme
Commentary
50%
50%

How Well Do Hospitals Protect Your Data? Abysmally

A just released survey of about 200 compliance executives in hospitals from around the country shows that data breaches and medical identity theft continue to soar.

A just released survey of about 200 compliance executives in hospitals from around the country shows that data breaches and medical identity theft continue to soar.While these survey results are from a vendor that sells identity protection services - and they have a vested interest in painting as bad a picture as possible. However, if the survey results are halfway on target we've witnessed what had been a significant problem become an abysmal failure when it comes to hospitals protecting patient information.

Consider these results from the survey, Spring 2010 National Survey of Hospital Compliance Executives:

PROBLEMS ARE WORSENING DESPITE MAJOR REGULATORY EFFORTS 41.5% of hospitals have TEN OR MORE data breaches each year - a 120.7% increase over last year's survey. Currently, over 20% percent of hospitals have twenty or more breaches annually.

INSIDERS NOT OPTIMISTIC HEALTHCARE REFORM WILL HELP 56.3% of hospital compliance officers believe that the new health care reform law will either have no change or will increase medical identity theft at their institutions.

INVESTIGATION OF FRAUD IS SURPRISINGLY LOW Despite the fact that medical identity theft is the fastest growing form of identity fraud, 71.4% of hospitals on average investigate fewer than 50 cases of possible misuse of identity annually, and over 34% still do not keep good patient ID records.

TIMELINESS OF COMPLIANCE IS POOR To date, only 15.7% of hospitals feel they are in compliance with the HITECH Act, which went into effect in February 2010. This lack of compliance mirrors last year's slow compliance efforts regarding the FTC's Red Flags Rule.

SECURITY OF THIRD PARTIES IS AN UNKNOWN 48.3% of hospitals do not know if their vendors and business associates are in compliance with the HITECH Act.

There's little to feel good about in those unhealthy survey findings. It's apparently more common than not for a hospital to have 10 or more data breaches each year and more than half of compliance officers believe that current reforms underway will either have no impact or actually increase medical identity theft at their organizations.

The unfortunate thing here is that, unlike most industries, the health care industry had a jump start in IT security and privacy challenges with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). Too bad both the health care industry and regulators failed at getting it right - and there's no viable fix on the horizon.

The survey, conducted by IdentityForce, is available here.

For my security and technology observations throughout the day, find me on Twitter.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Cartoon
Current Issue
Flash Poll
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2011-4403
Published: 2015-04-24
Multiple cross-site request forgery (CSRF) vulnerabilities in Zen Cart 1.3.9h allow remote attackers to hijack the authentication of administrators for requests that (1) delete a product via a delete_product_confirm action to product.php or (2) disable a product via a setflag action to categories.ph...

CVE-2012-2930
Published: 2015-04-24
Multiple cross-site request forgery (CSRF) vulnerabilities in TinyWebGallery (TWG) before 1.8.8 allow remote attackers to hijack the authentication of administrators for requests that (1) add a user via an adduser action to admin/index.php or (2) conduct static PHP code injection attacks in .htusers...

CVE-2012-2932
Published: 2015-04-24
Multiple cross-site scripting (XSS) vulnerabilities in TinyWebGallery (TWG) before 1.8.8 allow remote attackers to inject arbitrary web script or HTML via the (1) selitems[] parameter in a copy, (2) chmod, or (3) arch action to admin/index.php or (4) searchitem parameter in a search action to admin/...

CVE-2012-5451
Published: 2015-04-24
Multiple stack-based buffer overflows in HttpUtils.dll in TVMOBiLi before 2.1.0.3974 allow remote attackers to cause a denial of service (tvMobiliService service crash) via a long string in a (1) GET or (2) HEAD request to TCP port 30888.

CVE-2015-0297
Published: 2015-04-24
Red Hat JBoss Operations Network 3.3.1 does not properly restrict access to certain APIs, which allows remote attackers to execute arbitrary Java methos via the (1) ServerInvokerServlet or (2) SchedulerService or (3) cause a denial of service (disk consumption) via the ContentManager.

Dark Reading Radio
Archived Dark Reading Radio
Join security and risk expert John Pironti and Dark Reading Editor-in-Chief Tim Wilson for a live online discussion of the sea-changing shift in security strategy and the many ways it is affecting IT and business.