Inside BlackBerry: The Surprising IT Worry That Keeps Healthcare Lawyers Up at Night

Originally Published in Inside BlackBerry | March 29, 2017 | By Sara Jost RN

The top issue on a healthcare lawyer’s list of concerns is not what you might think. It’s not medical malpractice, disgruntled employees, or healthcare regulations. According to Consero Group’s 2017 Healthcare General Counsel Report, the issue keeping lawyers at mid- to large-sized healthcare organizations up at night is – data security.

Robert Azar, general counsel of Norton Healthcare, a Midwestern U.S. healthcare system with 210 hospitals, clinics, and other locations, told The National Law Journal that smartphones – and all the data they produce and store – are a key risk issue for lawyers. It is  practically impossible to control patients and families taking cellphone pictures and texting or posting them on social media. Regardless of the number of policies a hospital implements, it is a challenge to prevent doctors (including independent doctors with hospital privileges) and other staff members from using personal mobile devices to text or communicate patient information.

“The ability to control those [personal devices] is fairly limited,” Azar said. “It’s created a situation where most people feel it’s inevitable that something bad is going to happen.”

He has a good point. The Identity Theft Resource Center says that in 2016 the healthcare industry was responsible for 34.5% of breach incidents and 43.6% of all exposed records (more than any other industry studied).

There is a good chance that the “something bad” Azar refers to will include a serious financial penalty and a damaged reputation. U.S. healthcare organizations racked up nearly $15 million in fines for HIPAA violations in the first seven months of 2016, with more than a third of it coming from a single settlement.

Looking at these facts, it is no wonder that healthcare lawyers are so worried about data breaches.

See full article here.