Protected health information data breaches are common, affect millions and can result in large fines.  Has your sleep center developed policies and procedures for electronic information security to protect itself against information breaches?  Don’t let your sleep center be at risk of a data breach.   Learn about the importance of and techniques for securing electronic protected health information from the AASM’s Security and Privacy in the Electronic Age online learning module as presented by Dr. Kristen Daley from the Intermediate Sleep Center Management course.

As required by the HITECH Act, the Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) must make public any breaches of protected health information affecting 500 or more individuals.  Since 2009, 479 breaches affecting almost 21 million individuals have been disclosed to HHS and posted to the HHS website.  Thousands of additional breaches affecting fewer than 500 individuals each have also been reported, but HITECH does not require public posting of these more minor breaches. 

Breaches are classified by the cause of the breach and the medium of the breached information.  In many cases, the breach is due to theft, unauthorized access, loss or hacking.  Many of these breaches are of information stored on network servers, backup drives and laptops.  Electronic security of protected health information is an issue of critical importance as more and more health record information is stored electronically.  This new environment has created a new set of challenges related to HIPAA compliance.