Healthcare security breaches concern 4 million

Posted: Sep 02, 2013
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In a turn of events that only stresses the need for security when handling sensitive information, Advocate Health have recently been involved in the second biggest HIPAA breach ever reported.

It has been announced that four unencrypted company computers were stolen from one of its Advocate Medical Group administrative buildings and as a result over four million patients have had their protected health information; names, addresses, dates of birth and Social Security Numbers compromised.

On August 23, patients were informed by a letter from Kevin McCune, chief medical officer of Advocate Medical Group, that the computers holding their data had been stolen. “We deeply regret that this incident has occurred,” he wrote. “In order to prevent such an incident from reoccurring, we have enhanced our security measures and are conducting a thorough review of our policies and procedures.”

This is not the first time Advocate Health have suffered a security breach, either. In 2009 the theft of an employee’s laptop led to the notification of 812 patients that their health information had been compromised.

The loss of sensitive data is of course by no means solely attributed to Advocate Health. An Alaskan-based group that provides health services to disabled people has recently informed 3,700 clients that their personal details were compromised after being disclosed in an email chain.

The email, revealing names, addresses and protected health information, once again proves how dangerous unsecure communication can be. Email is inherently insecure, as it can easily be intercepted by third parties. Comparatively, data sent by fax is disassembled at one end and reassembled at the other, meaning that if it is intercepted the information can not be read.

With Sfax, security is the highest priority to ensure situations like this do not occur. Levels of security from the data centers to the application itself make Sfax HIPAA-compliant and are managed by trained HIPAA professionals. Encrypted data, access controls and auditing, insure that data is only decrypted for authorized requests and automated session time-outs are just a few of the ways in which Sfax protects the handling of sensitive information.

With thefts and data compromises happening with alarming regularity around the world, making sure that your data is sent via a secure channel should be your top priority.