Research shows that data security in healthcare needs to improve

Research conducted by the University of Phoenix College of Health Professions revealed that only 25% of registered nurses “have seen changes in the way their companies handle data security and patient privacy over the past year despite increased data breaches across all industries”.

The survey of 504 registered nurses (RNs) and administrative staff also found that 20% of RNs and 19% of administrative staff admitted that their employer had suffered a data breach affecting patient information.

Key findings:

  • 23% of RNs and administrators said that additional support and training is required to better protect patient data.
  • In contrast to the other findings, 48% of RNs and 57% of administrators said they felt “very confident” in their employer’s ability to protect patient data.
  • When questioned on what areas they have seen the most change in within the industry over the past year, only 25% of RNs and 40% of administrators said data security and privacy.
  • 59% of RNs and 60% of administrators said that role-based access was being implemented to further protect patient data.

Doris Savron, executive dean at the University of Phoenix College of Health Professions, said:

Patient safety is not just about physical and emotional well-being and protection, it also includes electronic records. In our increasingly digital world, it is critical for healthcare professionals at every level to prevent data breaches. Everyone in the healthcare industry must work together to establish protocols and implement training to secure and protect all patient data to reduce the risk of being compromised.

Dennis Bonilla, executive dean for the College of Information Systems and Technology at University of Phoenix, said:

Healthcare organizations are extremely susceptible to human error. If one employee accidently invites malicious malware into a system, the impact can be catastrophic. To limit the amount of breaches, cybersecurity governance must improve. Without improved training and robust cybersecurity response plans incorporated into information technology strategies, the healthcare industry will continue to bear the brunt of these attacks.

Data breaches are not uncommon within the healthcare industry. The 2017 Identity Theft Resource Center Data Breach Report noted that there were more than five million records breached within the medical/healthcare sector in 2017. The healthcare industry is often considered a favorable target by cyber criminals because of the volume of personal data stored.

With data breaches becoming more of an everyday occurrence, it’s more important than ever to ensure that employees are aware of internal security policies and procedures, as well as information security best practices. Investing in staff education is important, but it must provide staff with the confidence needed to deal with threats appropriately. Don’t allow your staff to be your downfall.

Reduce your security risk exposure with staff awareness training

Rolling out a comprehensive staff awareness program will give employees a clear understanding of their compliance requirements, your organization’s security policies and procedures, and information security best practice to reduce preventable mistakes. Even basic training has the potential to prevent security incidents.

In order to increase employee awareness cost-effectively and with minimal disruption, e-learning courses are often a preferred method. E-learning course topics include phishing, information security, and the GDPR.

Find out more about eLearning >>