Many organizations are unprepared to adequately respond to a breach, security expert Bob Chaput says. "Breach notification planning is just a fundamental, basic part of risk management in the new millennium," he adds.
The federal list of major healthcare information breaches that have occurred since September 2009 didn't grow much in the past month. The list now includes 272 cases affecting a total of almost 10.9 million individuals.
More than 30,000 enrollees in a Medicare supplementary insurance plan from Anthem Blue Cross are being offered free credit monitoring services after they were mailed notices that apparently displayed their Social Security numbers in the envelope window.
"Raising the security awareness of your workforce is your best defense against having a breach incident," says David Holtzman, who's on the federal team that enforces the HITECH Act breach notification rule.
A silver lining is emerging behind the rash of breaches that occur all too regularly. The fact that these breaches make the public more aware of the vulnerabilities is encouraging in efforts to make the Internet safer for all.
An incident recently added to the official federal list of major health information breaches offers a reminder that dental practices, as well as medical practices, must adequately protect patient records.