Corporate Compliance

Dealing with data breaches

Compliance Monitor, February 1, 2012

The following is adapted from an article authored by Greg Freeman that originally appeared in the January 2012 issue of HealthLeaders magazine.

You pick up the phone and someone tells you that a laptop containing thousands of patient files was left behind on the morning train. Or you learn that your own employees have been snooping into sensitive patient records for fun and profit. Or you discover that, for some odd reason, patient records have been posted on a completely unrelated public website for anyone to see, and they’ve been there for nearly a year.

Each of these scenarios has played out for some unfortunate healthcare executive, and they hold lessons in how to avoid such disasters, plus the best way to respond to such a crisis. Some of the most notorious HIPAA violations occurred within the UCLA Health System at the UCLA Medical Center, where singer Britney Spears was hospitalized in early 2008. After the Los Angeles Times reported that employees had been caught perusing Spears’ records with no legitimate reason, the hospital confirmed the HIPAA violations, fired 13 employees, and took disciplinary action against others. It also suspended six physicians.

Read more on the HIPAA Update blog.

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