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[ISN] Most Small Healthcare Practices Hacked In The Past 12 Months


By Kelly Jackson Higgins
Dark Reading
Feb 16, 2012

If you were wondering how safe your medical records are at your doctor's office, then this might make you sick: Ninety-one percent of small healthcare practices in North America say they have suffered a data breach in the past 12 months.

The survey, conducted by the Ponemon Institute and commissioned by MegaPath, queried more than 700 IT and administrative personnel in healthcare organizations of no more than 250 employees.

Among the findings: Only 31 percent say their management considers data security and privacy a top priority, and 29 percent say their breaches resulted in medical identity theft. "Cybercriminals are hunting for medical records," said Larry Ponemon, chairman and founder of Ponemon Institute. "The most serious issue is just the complacency small healthcare providers seem to exhibit with respect to securing patient records."

Around 70 percent say their organizations don't have -- or they don't know if they have -- enough budget to meet risk management, compliance, and governance requirements. In more than one-third of the practices, there's no one responsible for overall patient data protection. And budgets are tight: About half say that less than 10 percent of their IT budget goes to data security tools.


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