Predicted Rise in Healthcare Data Breaches in 2015 and Transcription Outsourcing

Healthcare Data BreachesResearch studies say that there will be more data breaches in healthcare in the year 2015. In this scenario, you need to be very careful when outsourcing transcription tasks. As EHR is now widely adopted, most of the providers are rather concerned about the quality of data within the electronic system. Entering data into EHR through transcription technology is a good option to ensure the accuracy of data, since professional transcriptionists thoroughly check the transcribed data before submission. Though it will ensure data accuracy, the security of your data is at risk if the concerned outsourcing company does not have proper security measures in place.

As per Experian’s 2015 Second Annual Data Breach Industry Forecast, data breaches in the healthcare field are expected to increase in 2015 owing to the potential economic gain and digitization of patient records. Some of the top data breach trends for 2015 are:

  • The increasing number of access points to Protected Health Information (PHI) and other sensitive data through electronic medical records and the growing popularity of wearable technology would make healthcare data a vulnerable target for cyber criminals.
  • As more businesses adopt interconnected systems and products (for example, cloud EHR systems), cyber attacks are likely to increase through data accessed from third-party vendors. The challenge of securing a considerable amount of sensitive information stored on the network combined with the value of a medical identity make many healthcare organizations attractive targets for cyber attacks.
  • Many businesses will overlook protecting their data against security breach by employees within the organization though they will increase focus on security protocols against external hackers. Employees and negligence will continue to be a leading cause for security breach over the next year.

A 2014 report from EMC Corporation says that healthcare data forms the largest percentage of digital universe and it is growing at 48 percent per year. A great deal of this data is not adequately protected. Around 93% of the healthcare digital universe requires protection. The report suggests several security measures to protect digital data such as locking down all devices, adopting control over all devices, embracing an enterprise mobile/BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) data management strategy and more.

We have already seen how the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) charge settlement by a transcription company highlighted the importance of securing your data when outsourcing. The risk is virtually doubled now, going by these studies. There is greater risk when sending your data to a transcription company as well as receiving the processed data from the same. So, be careful when choosing a third party service for your transcription work. Here are some of the important considerations:

  • Ensure that the company is HIPAA compliant
  • A non-disclosure agreement drawn up with the employees
  • Use secure space for keeping your data
  • Employs strong encryption for data transfer

A reliable transcription company would offer no BYOD policies and provide password protection for downloadable files so that these sensitive documents can be accessed only with your password.