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Healthcare Information and BreachesMoving to electronic patient records will greatly contribute to improving the quality and reducing the cost of patient care. However, the frequency of breaches has reached a level that threatens to impede or derail this migration. No organization is immune to breaches. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, breaches are occurring every 4 to 5 days to all types and sizes of healthcare organizations, from private practices to hospitals, and across all geographical areas. Types of electronic health record breaches range from loss or theft of electronic devices and improper device disposal, to unauthorized access and the use of unsecured e-mail with sensitive information. Such breaches can be prevented by using encryption together with other security measures to ensure that the data remains encrypted to all but those authorized to access it. When considering healthcare information breaches, it is common to take an organization-centric view. However, breaches can lead to real harm to patients, including severe financial damages as well as psychological stress. These consequences and their effects should be included when evaluating the overall impacts of a breach, driven by the healthcare organization’s goals and principles to improve the quality of patient care and “do no harm.” This document discusses encryption, presenting its key role as a safeguard of sensitive information, while also recognizing its vulnerabilities and the residual risk after encryption to healthcare organizations. We’ll share a practical, multilayered approach that can help healthcare organizations achieve a more robust privacy and security practice. This approach uses encryption along with other administrative, physical, and technical controls to mitigate the risk of security incidents such as breaches, and to better protect the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of sensitive information. We’ll also discuss the importance of system performance for increasing user compliance, and we’ll describe several hardware-accelerated security technologies from Intel that improve security while maintaining performance.Read the full Intel Healthcare IT Encryption Solutions Solution Brief.
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