According to analysis by TrueVault, the number of Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) violation complaints have “spiraled upward” since 2013. For example, in May 2014 there were 6,701 complaints, which is up 45.7% on the same month last year (4,599 in May 2013). 86% of these complaints resulted in some sort of action by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), showing that the HHS are noting the importance of keeping data safe and secure.
Why the sudden rise?
Has there been a sudden jump in people stealing healthcare information? Not likely. It seems that consumers are now more vigilant about who has their data and what they are doing with it, and they are not afraid to lodge complaints or even sue organizations.
Additionally, healthcare organizations are using a growing number of mobile devices including tablets, smartphones, and laptops, which has meant that there’s a greater risk of data being lost or stolen. Healthcare organizations need to ensure that the proper administrative, physical, and technical safeguards are applied across all devices to ensure compliance and to reduce the number of breaches.
The HHS warned last year that they would pursue organizations more aggressively for HIPAA violations and this threat of more audits, penalties, and criminal enforcement should encourage healthcare organizations to put more effort and resources towards protecting patient data.