Ponemon study finds lack of patient confidence for health IT security

According to one study, patients are concerned about their medical data but unsure that providers will protect it.

The results of a study from the Ponemon Institute released this month seem to show, among other things, a troubling streak of low confidence among patients when it comes to whether or not they believed their providers could successfully protect their medical data.

Out of the tens of thousands of people that this research encompassed, 68 percent said they were "not confident" that their information was safe, as opposed to 11 percent who were "very confident" that it was.

This information seems to reflect strong patient interest in the state of their health records, and contrasts with the high amount that consider this an important priority for their providers to have. In the 2014 Fiscal Year, 79 percent of respondents said they want assurance from their providers that their health information will be safe.

Though this is down slightly from previous years, the general rate of medical identity theft was found to be higher. Citing information from the Census Bureau the report said that there could have been as many as 2,317,969 medical identity theft victims last year, and 32 percent of respondents believe provider negligence was responsible for exposing them to identity theft. This period also notably excludes the recent Anthem insurance breach, which could impact the numbers in the next assessment.

In the opening to the report, the authors noted the role that HIPAA plays in proper response to breaches.

"Due to HIPAA privacy regulations, victims of medical identity theft must be involved in the resolution of the crime," the report states. "In many cases, victims struggle to reach resolution following a medical identity theft incident. In our research, only 10 percent of respondents report achieving a completely satisfactory conclusion of the incident."

Better data practices and close work with experienced could help providers avoid HIPAA violations and successfully address patient concerns about their data.

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