The National Law Journal: Data Privacy Tops List of Health Care GC Worries

Originally Published in The National Law Journal | February 3, 2017 | By Sue Reisinger

Lawyers working in the highly regulated health care industry are finding their work is becoming more complicated by an explosion of information, devices and new technology that puts sensitive patient data at risk, a new survey finds.

The survey—Consero Group’s 2017 Healthcare General Counsel report developed in partnership with Broad and Cassel—shows that 75 percent of respondents cited data security as the issue about which they are most worried. The survey questioned 54 GCs of mid- to large health care systems in the United States, as part of Consero’s health care general counsel forum held late last year.

The exponential growth in information technology “has outpaced everyone’s comfort level,” said Norton Healthcare general counsel Robert Azar, “and everyone has impending sets of doom.” Louisville-based Norton is a nonprofit system offering care at 210 locations throughout Kentucky and southern Indiana, including six main hospitals, clinics and affiliates.

Azar said he feels a company can get its arms around issues like electronic medical records, but has little control over how clients use things like “patient portals” into the system. “It’s just daunting,” he said.

One big fear, he says, is “patients and their families walking through the hospital taking cellphone pictures and posting and texting. I mean, how do you control that?”

Another security challenge is trying to restrict personal texting by medical staff members and employees, because of the number of people and types of devices, Azar says.

Independent doctors who have staff privileges but are not system employees, and who use their own electronic devices also present difficulties.

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

See full article here.