Are You at Risk to Be on the “Wall of Shame” for Data Breaches in Patient Privacy?

HIPAA privacy breachesPatient’s privacy is being tested more and more these days due to many forms of communication between practitioners being sent on paper (Ex. Triplicate form or fax referrals) and daily activities done with personal laptops that are easily lost, stolen, or become inoperable.

Did you know?

Over 435 organizations have had breaches affecting more than 500 patients

The “Wall of Shame” has been posted by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and is updated regularly.  You do not want to have you or your organization’s reputation at risk by using antiquated methods to store and communicate data.

Take a quick look at the list, notice anything? There are some very recognizable names on the list.  Do not become one of them.

Want more details about the security breaches?

1. Paper Records More Susceptible to Breach than Any Other Medium – Are You Next?
2. Healthcare’s Dirty Secret – 15 Million Patient’s Private Information Exposed Since 2009

Do you love statistics? Take a look at a great healthcare infographic about how broken our communication system really is.

How to protect yourself

how to choose the best browswer1.  Update your browsers to IE9, Chrome, or Firefox
If you are still using Internet Explorer 6, which was released in August 2001, get your IT department, your staff, or the kid down the street to help you.  It’s not hard, and will save you the embarrassment and huge liability of potentially being infected by viruses that could destroy or steal data. Technology isn’t scary is actually rather useful, and websites will look and run so much better with the newer versions of browsers that are out today.

Side-note: if you are still on Internet Explorer 6, its time to have a nice conversation with your IT staff, and also the vendors that are too lazy to upgrade their software to the modern age. By the way, even if the software you use to run your practices only works on certain browsers (ex. IE6), you can still install the newer versions of Chrome, or Firefox for searching the net. Trust us its well worth the upgrade.

Article that we wrote about – Dangers of Internet Explorer and your healthcare organization’s security.

web based electronic referral management software for doctors2. Update your referral workflow to a paperless solution such as ReferralMD’s electronic referral service that helps 2 providers communicate referrals online vs. triplicate forms and faxes.

What is the problem?

$250B spent on 30B healthcare transactions/year

  • Manual Process (slow, inefficient)
  • Lost treatment revenue
  • Inappropriate or ambiguous referrals
  • Lost, misplaced, or misfiled referrals (liability)
  • No unified specialty network


What is the benefits for primary care?

    • Reduced time managing referrals
    • Less referrals returned to the GP
    • Less errors, phone tag, on-hold time.
    • Identify referral trends within the organization and quickly address problematic clinics with accurate real time reporting of payer mix, referral quantity reports, and in and out of network identifiers to manage leakage.
    • Instant knowledge of patient status


What are the benefits for specialists?

      • Minimize lost treatment revenue
      • Higher quality and quantity of referrals
      • Ability to manage and monetize referral sources
      • Increased retention/recruitment of providers
      • Valid and complete (coherent) information

protect your files3. Backup your data
Believe it or not, many doctors do not back up their files, and just hope that nothing happens.  Best bet to save your data and your sanity is to use a service such as Carbonite which backs up your data daily so you do not have to worry.

If you are one of those offices that still use tape backups or “Gasp” DVD’s to protect your data, it’s time to upgrade fast.  We know you have good intentions, but do you really backup your data daily?

Stop using email to send patient files4. Stop using e-mail to send information
We have heard so many stories about patient information being sent to personal staff accounts such as Gmail, Yahoo, etc, its shocking and against the law.

Here is a short personal story about emailing patient referrals that I have seen time and time again.

Share your best security practices

Share this article with your staff and your colleagues, I bet it gets them talking. Then please come back after and leave a comment.

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