With data breaches occurring across many industries, even sensitive data pertaining to patient health care records is at risk. A recent University of Phoenix study of 504 registered nurses and administrative staff found that only a quarter 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 also found that 20 percent of registered nurses and 19 percent of administrative staff admitted their facilities have experienced a breach of private patient data.
The issue is further compounded by a lack of trained cybersecurityprofessionals to combat hackers, especially in health care, where professionals make less and are responsible for not only protecting systems, but lives. Without trained experts, the onus falls on RNs and administrators, who may be unaware of how to identify or prevent breaches.
“Patient safety transcends physical, emotional and electronic bounds and, in our increasingly digital world, it is important for health care professionals to be prepared for the possibility of data breaches,” said Doris Savron, executive dean for the
Nurses and administrative staff agree, with 23 percent of RNs and 34 percent of administrative staff stating that additional support and training is needed for health care privacy and security.
“Health care organizations are extremely susceptible to human error. If one employee accidentally invites malicious malware into a system, the impact can be catastrophic. To limit the amount of breaches, cybersecurity governance must improve,” said Dennis Bonilla, executive dean for the
What’s Being Done
Current steps being taken to ensure the protection of patient data include:
• Updated privacy and access policies, according to more than two-thirds of RNs and administrative staff;
• Role-based access, according to 59 percent of RNs and 60 percent of administrative staff; and
• Data surveillance, according to most RNs and administrative staff.
“Understanding what we do well now to protect patient data can help us create an increasingly sophisticated framework to safeguard this sensitive information,” added Savron. “
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