There has been a growing increase within hospital organizations for system breaches that has exposed private patient information. Many of these have been due to malware such as ransomware, and has contributed to identity theft increases in the medical industry to increase by 40%. Hospitals are one of the few locations that house patient data that can include social security number, credit card information, and employment information. In addition, HIPAA laws (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) requires that medical organizations take extra steps to make sure that patient data is secure and any hospitals found to have experienced a breach can receive millions of dollars in fines. Considering that hospitals maintain information in both paper and digital formats, it is critical that they have the best quality document and data destruction processes in place.
Over the last few years criminals have taken advantage of a number of areas that involve “human error” to accomplish data breaches at hospitals. Their devious plans have involved everything from phishing expeditions to using third party organizations to gain access to a network. Cyberattacks have been successful around the world in gaining access to patient records, often breaching a front-end workstation that has authorized credentials.
A 2019 report indicated that
“Data breaches cost hospital organizations an estimated $423 per each breach patient record.”
Focus on the cybersecurity professionals has not only included internal strategies for keeping proprietary and patient data safe, but as expanded to include any and all data and documents that leave the hospital environment for destruction. The old school attitudes regarding information destruction can no longer be relied upon. Internal IT Departments can work closely with professional data destruction companies such as SHREDDRS to review the device types that need to be destroyed to ensure complete security.
In the past, some hospital locations made use of in-house paper shredders for all documents that contained patient data and were no longer relevant. Unfortunately, many of these shredders were not of the highest quality and allowed criminals to piece together strips of paper to reconstruct the document. High grade paper shredders will reduce the paper to such tiny pieces that they resemble confetti and can’t ever be reassembled. These shredders are the type used by trained and professional secure document destruction companies.
Hospitals take pride in having some of the top of the line technologies and this means that many of their existing technologies have reached end-of-life. Deleting alone will not destroy any proprietary and personal files and folders, as these devices must undergo the kind of complete destruction that is only available from a professional data destruction company such as SHREDDRS. There are a variety of methods that are used to ensure that none of the information found digitally will ever be available.
Hospitals often go through HIPAA audits which may include requiring proof that they have successfully destroyed any documents or digital technologies that contained patient information. Professional document destruction companies such as SHREDDRS will supply a certificate of destruction to ensure that a hospital complies with all legal requirements.
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