Boston Medical’s PHI breach – good security makes a difference

Lately if you read health care news, you will see security breaches hitting your news feed on a regular basis. There was recently a breech announced where a transcription company caused Boston Medical issues in patient documentation. I received the link from many people who thought I would want to read it and I passed it on to many as well.

NEMT President Linda Allard

The article reminds us that we all need to be monitoring our business associates. As a business associate and a transcription company, we take HIPAA and the security of our clients very seriously. We have done the security analysis as required and have regularly scheduled meetings to discuss security.

We hired an outside consultant who also looks at what we do to give us an unbiased opinion and have regularly scheduled training of our team.

I know for covered entities it is a daunting task to manage all the business associates they deal with. For the business associate it is an unending task where we need to be stringent and do the required risk assessment, and it doesn’t end there.  We need to keep rechecking and monitoring so nothing can possibly slip through the cracks like what we saw happen at Boston General.

There is also the issue of having so much information written.  How do we know what we should read?  There is a wealth of information that we can pull from and many companies who offer their help with security.  One source of valuable information that you can start with is the Department of Health and Human Services.  They have a whole series of papers that offer a wonderful starting place for things you can do to help with security.

EMRs and sharing patient data between entities is something that everyone is striving for to help the patient who needs medical care.  We also need to work together as a healthcare community and share what we know about security (what works and what doesn’t) so we can protect not only our patient’s health but secure their data as well.

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About Linda Allard

Linda Allard is the president of NEMT.
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