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No More Excuses – Healthcare Organizations Need to Mask Their Patient Data

Data breaches in healthcare have increased 32 percent in the past year and have cost the industry an estimated $6.5 billion annually according to the Ponemon Institute. Responsible for these breaches were largely employee handling of data and the increasing use of mobile devices. Forty-one percent of healthcare executive surveyed attributed data breaches related to protected health information (PHI) to employee mistakes. Half of the respondents said their organization does nothing to protect the information contained on mobile devices. “Healthcare data breaches are an epidemic,” said Dr. Larry Ponemon, chairman and founder, Ponemon Institute, in an announcement of the study results.

Why are healthcare data breaches becoming more common?
PHI data is in all production and test systems, as well as numerous copies that are created of production systems for test, training and application development purposes. In addition to these production systems, PHI data lives in servers inside and outside of the organization. As more mobile devices are used to access critical patient data, and doctors are using their mobile devices to address medical issues from all over the country (if not the world), more sensitive patient data is exposed. In addition to PHI data such as social security number, a lot of sensitive data that healthcare organizations have is contained in textual notes. So the textual data also needs to be protected. But patient data needs to be protected not only within the hospital or healthcare organization. As patient data is used for clinical trial and research purposes, it is important to protect the data that leaves the organization.
To address these concerns, Informatica has seen organizations move towards an end-to-end, enterprise wide data privacy solution that enables them to:
- Consistently define sensitive data and set data privacy policies
- Identify where sensitive data lives throughout the organization
- Create subsets of production data for testing purposes, greatly reducing costs of managing test data (reducing hardware and software)
- Mask data according to all required PHI rules
- Report / provide audit trail that data has been masked and data is secure
Maintaining many, individual privacy solutions can be both costly and risky. An enterprise wide solution centralizes data privacy management, streamlining development and ongoing maintenance.

For more information on healthcare privacy challenges and how to address them, please join us in our upcoming webinar.

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