"While the breach data shows improvement year-over-year, we caution against complacency," said Daniel W. Berger, Redspin's President and CEO. "Clearly the increase in the number of health providers who conducted HIPAA Security Risk Assessments in 2012 had a positive impact. But continuous and durable security requires continuing investment and effort - it is an ongoing process of vigilance."
Over half of all breaches (57%) have involved "business associates," third-party vendors that need access to PHI to provide their services to covered entities.
"The recently-published HIPAA Omnibus Rule now requires business associates to comply with HIPAA privacy and security regulations directly and extends civil liability to BAs for PHI breach," continued Berger. "This is a major regulatory change. But health providers should not just assume all BAs will comply - they need to be proactive, working closely with their business partners to build a secure 'chain of PHI custody.'"
Redspin also reports that the lack of encryption on laptops and other portable electronic devices is the root cause of over one-third of PHI breaches (38%).
The company suggests that encrypting portable devices be more widely implemented and enforced given the surge in the use of personally-owned mobile devices at work.
Lastly, Redspin warns that personal health records are high value targets for cybercriminals as they can be exploited for identity theft, insurance fraud, stolen prescriptions, and dangerous hoaxes - even held for ransom. Although there has been a relatively low incident rate of hacking among all PHI breaches to date, Berger says that last year's attack on the Utah Department of Health "may be the canary in the coal mine." Some 780,000 Medicaid and Children's Health Plan records were targeted.
A full copy of Redspin's "Breach Report 2012, Protected Health Information" can be found at:
About Redspin, Inc.
Redspin has provided HIPAA Security Risk Analysis services to nearly 100 hospitals. Staffed by expert security engineers and compliance consultants, Redspin helps safeguard confidential information and protect critical IT infrastructure. The company offers penetration testing, continuous vulnerability assessments, web application security audits, internal security and compliance reviews, mobile device security assessments, social engineering, and security awareness training. Through in-depth analysis and business acumen, Redspin has become a trusted security advisor to the healthcare industry, as well as banking and financial services, retail, energy, technology, and hospitality.
For more information visit www.redspin.com