MARCH, 2014
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Edie Brous
Nurse Attorney
118 East 28th Street
Room 404
New York, NY 10016
Tel. (212) 989-5469
Fax. (646) 349-5355
Web Site:

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In its Fourth Annual Benchmark Study on Patient Privacy and Data Security, the Ponemon Institute has published startling information regarding threats to privacy and security of patient information in the U.S. Health Care system. The report states, “[C]riminal attacks on healthcare systems have risen a startling 100 percent since we first conducted this study four years ago in 2010. Healthcare employees are fueling breach risks by increased use of their personal unsecured devices (smartphones, laptops and tablets).”

The study identifies insider negligence as the root of most data breaches with employee negligence creating the biggest security risk. Nurses who engage in “BYOD” (bring your own device) practices, expose themselves and their organizations to these privacy breaches. Using your own phone, tablet, or computer to connect to the organization’s networks or to communicate patient information, exposes patient data to those for whom there should not be such access.

The economic cost of such breaches is considerable. The report estimates that data breaches cost healthcare organizations anywhere from $10,000 to more than $1 million dollars over a two-year period. The loss of trust in providers is incalculable. Violating patient privacy, even unintentionally, may also lead to charges of professional misconduct by a licensing board.

Know your organization’s policy with regard to the use of private devices. Such devices may not be compliant with HIPAA security requirements and may be a violation of employer policies. When in doubt, do not use them to access or transmit patient data.

Bar Admissions:
  • New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania
  • Southern and Eastern Districts New York Federal Courts
  • United States Supreme Court
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This newsletter is intended to provide general information for educational purposes only. It does not serve as a substitute for legal advice. If you need legal assistance engage the services of an attorney in your state. Subscription to this newsletter does not create an attorney/client relationship.
Copyright © 2014, Edie Brous, RN, Esq.

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