During 2014, it seemed that everywhere you looked a data breach had occurred. According to a report drafted by the Identity Theft Resource Center on December 23rd, 2014, approximately 83 million records were exposed over the year, with the highest number of data breaches occurring in the medical/ healthcare and business industry.
For businesses, which did not include, Banking/credit/financial, Government/ Military or Educational, the number of breaches recorded was close to 250 facilities, with an average of over 64 million confidential records being exposed. In the healthcare industry, the recorded number of breaches was well over 300 facilities, with around 8.2 million records that were compromised.
In the event of a breach, penalties have increased. A breach is costing a company not only their reputation, but millions of dollars in monetary settlements. Last year in one of the largest monetary settlements to date, the Office of Civil Rights settled a case for nearly $5 million in violation of the HIPAA privacy rule.
Facilities hope that they will never be among the list of people who are dealing with a data breach occurrence, but the truth is, it is becoming more likely and frequent than anyone would have anticipated. Advancements in technology and use of cloud storage has helped reduce the amount of paper loss in addition to reducing the amount of time spent searching for a piece of information, but it has also made facilities more vulnerable to hackers and unauthorized users. Cyber-attacks due to the digital transition has increased and left companies wondering how they can keep their information secure.
Experts in the industry forecast 2015 to have even greater numbers of security breaches. Facilities need to stop pushing their security processes to the back of the to-do list and get serious about a data breach prevention plan. Work with your IT department to develop a list of red flags, fully scan employees upon hiring and limit access to confidential documents.
As for data storage units and software, have the proper malware in place for when there is an unauthorized user trying to access information. Change passwords frequently using a combination of letters, numbers, and symbols if applicable. The costs might seem high in order to properly implement a security prevention process, but it is nowhere near as much as if the data breach occurs.
It’s interesting to watch the healthcare industry continue to become digitally enhanced. What is even more exciting is to watch as mobile applications strive to make your health information easier to obtain. There are plenty of apps that can log and track your fitness goals and dietary needs, but what about applications that can monitor your cholesterol, blood sugar, heart rate and more?
Patient IO, an application that can be used both through mobile application or desktop, is designed to do all this. Not only can it help keep track of your healthcare needs, but it bridges the gap between you and your healthcare provider by making that information readily available at all times.
With one platform, you've now made your care plan available for friends, family and your healthcare provider, allowing support and improvement whenever and wherever needed. The application works by first getting an invite from your healthcare provider. Once the invite is sent, you will either access the application by inputting an access code, or entering through an email invite. Download the app on your desktop or smart phone and create your account. The application is completely secure and the information you choose to share with each individual is under your discretion.
Another application that is helping revolutionize healthcare apps is Apple Health. Apple Health allows you to store health data such as heart rate, calories burned, blood sugar, and cholesterol and have the information available in one location.
You can simultaneously track all of your health and fitness goals from a locked screen and see your day to day health accomplishments. If you are using an Apple device, when the screen is locked with either a passcode or Touch ID, the information of your health data is encrypted. Similar to Patient IO, Apple Health has developed HealthKit, which works to provide your health information to your doctors when you see fit.
Both Patient IO and Apple Health have worked to make it easier to be a healthier you. The applications make you aware of health problems daily, and gives you the ability to fix those issues by monitoring them on the go.
In addition to monitoring these issues yourself, you can also have a support system through your family, friends and healthcare provider. High blood pressure, high cholesterol and proper nutrition are just a few issues that people struggle with daily. Now those issues can be right in front of you so you can see what positive changes you need to make for a healthier lifestyle.
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