The contributions and advantages that Electronic Health Records have brought to the healthcare industry cannot be overlooked. Physicians are keen to adopt EHRs and implementing them appropriately is evident proof of the aforementioned claim. It was never difficult for them to comprehend that EHRs would not only simplify workflow management for their practices, but also help them improve quality of care. However, regardless of the countless benefits; security concerns are one of the debates regarding EHRs.
According to a recent survey by Xerox, with the increasing trend of EHR adoption, the security concerns amongst Americans have also augmented. Approximately 85% Americans believe that with the increasing number of healthcare providers and bodies adopting EHRs, the security and privacy of their health information is on the brink of being disclosed.
’Of course, both the patients and physicians are well aware of the advantages Electronic Health Records have provided them with. It was never so easy to instantly store, retrieve, access, and exchange information from virtually anywhere. However, in the world of information technology, overlooking security and safety issues is difficult’, says a Massachusetts based Health IT consultant.
Having understood the gravity of the situation, established Cloud based EHR vendors have integrated their EHRs with security and protection protocols. These include data encryption, remote storage, and back up data. In fact, the concept of role based access in EHRs is another crucial element that has helped address the security issues. However, it is important to realize that internet hacking is not the only threat to security of health information. Human negligence can also result in patient health information being invaded. According to a recent report, a stolen laptop resulting in breach of patient health information caused a penalty worth $1.5 million to Boston teaching hospital.
’You cannot always blame internet hackers to invade health information security. At times, the negligent attitude on part of office staff or the provider himself is the sole reason leading to security breaches’, says a Health IT consultant.
Protecting health information is essential for providers and healthcare bodies, and there is no second opinion about it. This is the major reason why ONC is persistently working on making electronic health information as secure as possible, as they do not want providers being penalized by the government unnecessarily.