Compliance Management, Incident Response, Privacy, TDR

Access by health care personnel is main security concern

User access is the number one IT security concern among healthcare workers, according to a study conducted by Courion.

The survey was taken at the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) 2008 Annual Conference and Exhibition. Of the 136 people questioned, 64 percent cited access as their main security issues, while 60 percent were concerned about passwords being shared among personnel and 52 percent admitted that orphaned accounts were not properly disabled.

The goal behind the survey was to see the extent to which access control and security issues were on the radar screen of IT officials in the healthcare industry, Kurt Johnson, vice president of corporate development at Courion told on Tuesday.

“Having easy access to the data that doctors, nurses, and other caretakers need improves patient care,” Johnson said. “But it opens a whole new concern in the organization to exactly who has access to this information.”

One of the strongest drivers to develop better security initiatives is a HIPAA audit. Sixty percent of those surveyed said the threat of an audit and subsequent stiff penalties for violations of HIPAA have brought the importance of security issues to the forefront.

A tremendous amount of activity exists within the healthcare industry, with ever-expanding technical advances emerging for shared health records among doctors and other caregivers. This survey shows that those involved in IT security understand that the patient's safety and keeping access only to authorized personnel is vital.

“Once your health information gets out there, there is no way to get it back or protect it,” Johnson said.

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