Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Risk

4/24/2012
04:43 PM
50%
50%

Healthcare's Checklist Security Mentality Failing, Report Says

Despite conducting regular risk analysis, 27% of healthcare organizations suffered a data breach in the last 12 months, twice the percentage reported in 2010. Lack of cohesive security leadership might be to blame, report says.

Is A Personal Health Record In Your Future?
Is A Personal Health Record In Your Future?
(click image for larger view and for slideshow)
Most hospitals--89%--conduct regular risk analysis. However, few ever take actual steps to improve patient data security. With that in mind, healthcare delivery organizations must change their data security strategy from that of a monitoring and reactive stance and adopt proactive measures to mitigate threats, concludes a report commissioned by Kroll Advisory Solutions.

2012 HIMSS Analytics Report: Security of Patient Data, which was prepared in collaboration with the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society, raised concerns about the continued implementation of security practices that "overemphasize a 'checklist' mentality for compliance without implementing more comprehensive and sustainable changes needed for meaningful improvements in the day-to-day handling of patient Personal Health Information (PHI) and Patient Identity Integrity (PII)."

"Employees at healthcare organizations touch data tens of thousands of times every day, meaning there is a lot of opportunity for data breaches to occur," Jennifer Horowitz, senior director of research at HIMSS Analytics, told InformationWeek Healthcare. She said organizations should ..."have the policies and procedures in place to support a culture in which privacy and security is a top-of-mind focus for organizations."

[ Most of the largest healthcare data security and privacy breaches have involved lost or stolen mobile computing devices. For possible solutions, see 7 Tools To Tighten Healthcare Data Security]

The report was based on interviews with 250 senior information technology executives in December 2011. It presented participants with a scale of one to seven, where one was "not at all compliant" and seven was "compliant with all applicable standards," and asked respondents to rate their level of compliance with the regulations that govern PHI.

Respondents indicated their organizations are most compliant with the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS) regulations, with an average score of 6.64. Respondents were least compliant with the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act, though compliance with this set of regulations was still very high, with an average score of 5.97.

According to Horowitz, many health delivery organizations have created checklists because they are trying to be in compliance with Meaningful Use. However, they need to step up their game and take further action--they should conduct a risk assessment, take action based on the findings of that risk assessment, and implement the appropriate corrective measures to better secure patient data.

The document reiterated much of what has already been uncovered in other reports--namely that the number of data breaches is on the rise, employees often are the source of patient data theft and unauthorized breaches, and the increasing use of mobile devices by physicians and other health providers puts patient data more at risk.

Among the report's key findings:

-- 27% of respondents said their organization had had a security breach in the past 12 months, compared with 19% in 2010 and 13% in 2008. Of those who reported a breach, 69% experienced more than one.

-- 56% said that the source of the breach was unauthorized access to information by an employee.

-- Demonstrating high levels of compliance with HIPAA regulations, 98% said they require third parties to sign a business associate (BA) agreement, and 82% require third parties to notify them of a breach. However, only 56% of respondents said they ensure that their third-party vendors conduct a periodic risk analysis.

-- 22% of respondents who had suffered a breach--twice the percentage (11%) in 2010--said data was compromised when a laptop, handheld device, or computer hard drive was lost or stolen.

The report also looked at who is in charge of patient data safety, and found that several executives hold that responsibility. Twenty-one percent of respondents said the health information management (HIM) director is responsible for patient data security; 19% said it's the chief information officer; 12% each cited the chief privacy officer, chief compliance officer, and chief executive officer; and 10% cited the chief security officer.

"There is still a lack of consensus among the industry as to who has the final say in securing data at an organization," Horowitz said. "If you look across the industry, you don't see a consolidation towards more and more hospitals using a chief security officer. Instead, organizations are assigning the responsibility of securing data to a multitude of titles--the most commonly used being the HIM directors and CIOs."

The 2012 InformationWeek Healthcare IT Priorities Survey finds that grabbing federal incentive dollars and meeting pay-for-performance mandates are the top issues facing IT execs. Find out more in the new, all-digital Time To Deliver issue of InformationWeek Healthcare. (Free registration required.)

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
10 Ways to Keep a Rogue RasPi From Wrecking Your Network
Curtis Franklin Jr., Senior Editor at Dark Reading,  7/10/2019
The Security of Cloud Applications
Hillel Solow, CTO and Co-founder, Protego,  7/11/2019
Where Businesses Waste Endpoint Security Budgets
Kelly Sheridan, Staff Editor, Dark Reading,  7/15/2019
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon Contest
Current Issue
Building and Managing an IT Security Operations Program
As cyber threats grow, many organizations are building security operations centers (SOCs) to improve their defenses. In this Tech Digest you will learn tips on how to get the most out of a SOC in your organization - and what to do if you can't afford to build one.
Flash Poll
The State of IT Operations and Cybersecurity Operations
The State of IT Operations and Cybersecurity Operations
Your enterprise's cyber risk may depend upon the relationship between the IT team and the security team. Heres some insight on what's working and what isn't in the data center.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2019-13611
PUBLISHED: 2019-07-16
An issue was discovered in python-engineio through 3.8.2. There is a Cross-Site WebSocket Hijacking (CSWSH) vulnerability that allows attackers to make WebSocket connections to a server by using a victim's credentials, because the Origin header is not restricted.
CVE-2019-0234
PUBLISHED: 2019-07-15
A Reflected Cross-site Scripting (XSS) vulnerability exists in Apache Roller. Roller's Math Comment Authenticator did not property sanitize user input and could be exploited to perform Reflected Cross Site Scripting (XSS). The mitigation for this vulnerability is to upgrade to the latest version of ...
CVE-2018-7838
PUBLISHED: 2019-07-15
A CWE-119 Buffer Errors vulnerability exists in Modicon M580 CPU - BMEP582040, all versions before V2.90, and Modicon Ethernet Module BMENOC0301, all versions before V2.16, which could cause denial of service on the FTP service of the controller or the Ethernet BMENOC module when it receives a FTP C...
CVE-2019-6822
PUBLISHED: 2019-07-15
A Use After Free: CWE-416 vulnerability exists in Zelio Soft 2, V5.2 and earlier, which could cause remote code execution when opening a specially crafted Zelio Soft 2 project file.
CVE-2019-6823
PUBLISHED: 2019-07-15
A CWE-94: Code Injection vulnerability exists in ProClima (all versions prior to version 8.0.0) which could allow an unauthenticated, remote attacker to execute arbitrary code on the targeted system in all versions of ProClima prior to version 8.0.0.