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Risk

1/13/2011
09:53 PM
George V. Hulme
George V. Hulme
Commentary
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Kudos To Tucson University Medical Center For Firing Alleged Snoops

The Tucson University Medical Center reportedly has let go three employees for accessing the medical records of those involved in the Tuscon shooting tragedy without authorization.

The Tucson University Medical Center reportedly has let go three employees for accessing the medical records of those involved in the Tuscon shooting tragedy without authorization.That's what the Arizona Daily Star is reporting in its story, 3 UMC workers fired for invading records:

The hospital said it notified families of the affected patients.

The shooting killed six people and injured 13, including U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords. Giffords is in critical condition with a bullet wound to the head.

All six remaining injured patients from the shootings, including Giffords, are at UMC.

That was quick identification and resolution of the breach. I do hope that the alleged snoops didn't have their log-on credentials used by other employees.That's always a risk. However, the hospital's statement provides a good clue as to what made the quick resolution possible. Access monitoring and auditing software:

With advances in technology, ensuring patient privacy has become the focus of hospitals nationwide. UMC uses sophisticated technology to help prevent and detect inappropriate access to patient information.

That shows the importance of hospitals employing monitoring software, and having the procedures in place (and the fortitude) to act quickly. I'll bet employees at the medical center will think twice before snooping in the future.

Unfortunately, it will probably take many more such incidents before hospital workers (those who are inclined to snoop) are too concerned for the potential repercussions to do so.

Because these types of incidents seem to happen: all, of, the, time.

Recall when the University of California, Los Angeles Medical Center fired 13 (or more) employees for peeking at the star's medical records? That was way back in 2008.

In 2009, a doctor and two hospital employees were sentenced, as part of a plea agreement, to probation and thousands in fines, each. That plea agreement from the Little Rock Division of the FBI is available here.

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