Hospital Paper Records and Films: Most Common Data Breach in Hospitals

Posted by Dustin Rushing on Nov 13, 2018 9:00:00 AM
Dustin Rushing

Hospitals have always been a target for criminals because they contain untold troves of data that can be used in an infinite number of ways. A healthcare data breach not only gives them access to all kinds of sensitive medical information, but also financial and insurance data that can be used to fuel their scams. In a study published in the American Journal of Managed Care, researchers found that hospitals accounted for a third of all breaches, affecting more individuals than any other type of breach.  But what may surprise you is that it was paper files and films that were most likely to be stolen, with network servers being the least likely. Learn more about what your risks are and how you can keep medical records safe.

How Thieves Use Paper Records

It may seem like in this day and age, paper records wouldn’t be so highly coveted. However, unlike other sectors of the economy, the medical industry didn’t make a move to go digital until 2010. Their general reluctance means that many hospitals still look at paper files as their primary way of recording information.

Despite the EHR rules in place, the staff wants to know that their information is always available in paper form when they need it. These files contain everything from social security numbers to financial data, making it easy to run individual identify scams, sell the data en masse on the black market, or ransom the files for cryptocurrency. The most common data breaches in hospitals are paper because thieves know how to exploit the data for their own gain.

Challenges Hospitals Face in Securing Data

Hospital staff truly have an uphill battle when it comes to securing their data. They not only have to ensure that their systems are up to date (and legally compliant), but they also have to be careful of social engineering scams. And because hospitals are so hectic, it only takes a second for a nurse or doctor to look away and potentially expose sensitive information.

Hospitals who want to avoid a breach and prevent identity theft need to make security a priority, ensuring their employees have the training and knowledge they need to reduce the odds of an attack. They also need to do everything in their power to limit the amount of data available to thieves by destroying hospital documents immediately.

Be Proactive When Protecting Company Data

No matter how good a hospital’s current policies are at keeping criminals at bay, chances are, they could stand to improve. Any sensitive data need to be shredded immediately, and to do it correctly, hospitals may need to redefine what exactly constitutes sensitive data.

If the standard hospital data breach has taught us anything, it’s that it doesn’t take much information for a hacker to begin to unravel the whole mystery. Prescription labels, mail, films, financial data, accounting information: companies need to take the reins if they want to protect themselves.

Contacting Louisiana Shred for Shredding Services

Louisiana Shred provides document shredding services that you can count on to secure company data by obscuring the information in a way that can't be put back together again. We ensure that all of our clients are in compliance with federal laws, and we provide the advice you need to improve your current security standards. If you're looking to destroy hospital film or documents, give us a call today.

And if you're looking for medical waste disposal, contact our partner MedWaste for safe and efficient disposal services. 

Learn More About MedWaste Services


Topics: Information Security, Hospitals

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