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New HIMSS Analytics Survey Reveals Healthcare 'Business Associates' Are Unprepared for Data Breach
Date:11/17/2009

CHICAGO and BEAVERTON, Ore., Nov. 17 /PRNewswire/ -- Business associates, those who handle private patient information for healthcare organizations - including everyone from billing, credit bureaus, benefits management, legal services, claims processing, insurance brokers, data processing firms, pharmacy chains, accounting firms, temporary office personnel, and offshore transcription vendors - are largely unprepared to meet the new data breach related obligations included in the HITECH Act.

HIMSS Analytics announced its findings of a national survey of hospitals and business associates to check the state of healthcare vulnerability to data breach. The research, commissioned by ID Experts, revealed that approximately one-third of business associates surveyed were not aware that they need to adhere to federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) privacy and security requirements, compared to 87 percent of health providers. Hospitals and health providers are taking action:

  • 85 percent of health providers said they will take steps to ensure that data held by business associates will not be breached.
  • Nearly half of hospitals, 47 percent, said they would actually terminate their contracts with their business associates for violations.

"Business associates could represent a risk to healthcare organizations, especially hospitals," said Lisa Gallagher, BSEE, CISM, CPHIMS, Senior Director, Privacy and Security, HIMSS. "The lack of awareness of new federal regulations by business associates coupled with the large number of third parties hired by hospitals to control costs through outsourcing, points to a potential area of concern. Hospitals, in partnership with their business associates, need to actively prepare to comply with the new rules when these breaches happen."

The research also found that:

  • 50 percent of large hospitals experienced at least
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SOURCE ID Experts
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