Healthcare Sector, the biggest leaker of personal information?

by Michael Addison in Data Protection | posted:

Three Common Healthcare Data Breaches

If a data breach happened to you, what would your first thought be:


“ Is my bank account safe ”

“ What information have they taken ”

“ What can I do about this”


Those working in the healthcare sector have access to a very special set of personal information.  Your health care records.


Do you know how precious healthcare data is?

The Information Assurance Advisory Council advised that stolen medical information like patients’ names, phone numbers and addresses are sold to cold-calling companies. Something more sinister is the practice of online blackmail. With confidential sexual health records are used to threaten patients.


Three common healthcare data breaches

The healthcare sector accounts for the highest number of reports. The majority of these breaches come from human error, this includes:

  1. Loss or theft of paperwork;
  2. Data being sent to the wrong person by email;
  3. Data being posted or faxed to an incorrect person.


So, how do you correct a human error?


The simple answer is people are people. Mistakes can happen.

However, with General Data Protection Regulations coming into force on the 25th may, mistakes such as these carry a higher cost to businesses.

The Information Commissioner’s Office under GDPR can enforce many actions for data breaches. These include serving assessment notices and inspecting whether businesses are following the correct data practice. Although, the ICO can issue penalty notices of 4% annual global turnover for serious data breaches.


Human error in healthcare: Three ways to Improve

This can be boiled down into three key measures:


Training: GDPR will affect everyone. Training your staff to understand the whats and hows of data processing is the first part of understanding how to prevent a breach. Did you know a nursing staff member was personally fined for unlawfully accessing a patients medical records?

Accountability: Does all your staff require access to all information? With the emailing and faxing of information, make specific staff accountable to precise tasks. This will limit the likelihood of a mistake.

Security:  The loss and theft of paperwork accounts to a large portion of healthcare data breaches. Owning a secure data console allows information that needs disposing of is kept safe from those who wish to take it.


Confidential Shredding Service

Our shredding service can be arranged flexibly to your requirements. Confidential information comes in many forms. With healthcare, this can be anything from outdated healthcare records, computer data (USB drives) and even ex-employee uniforms. If it has the chance to put your business at risk, our service will get rid of it.

healthcare gdpr service

View our shredding service here