Meaningful use takes precedence over security, says study

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According to a report that was conducted by Healthcare IT News, healthcare facilities are increasingly focused on meeting compliance standards for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ (CMS) meaningful use financial incentives than implementing secure medical informatics systems.

The survey, which was commissioned by database software vendor Oracle and financial advisory and consultancy form Deloitte, indicated that 80 percent of hospitals polled stated that they were primarily concerned with meeting the compliance standards in order to gain CMS accreditation. Only 34 percent of healthcare facilities said that they were focused on adopting clinical informatics systems with robust data security functionality.

“Meaningful use should not be a siloed approach,” said Russell Long, a partner at Deloitte, as quoted by the news source. “Being compliant doesn’t mean you’re secure. You’re going to need technology solutions that are data centric.”

Several larger healthcare providers have implemented medical informatics systems that exceed the security protocols outlined in the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, including Kaiser Permanente and Baylor Healthcare System. The adoption of the HITRUST Common Security Framework is one way that such providers can increase the security of patient data and remain fully compliant with Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) regulations.

The HHS has increased efforts to monitor the levels of data security established by large-scale medical informatics clients following a series of high-profile reports of compromised patient data.

Earlier this week, Stanford Hospital and Clinics reported that a breach of data security resulted in approximately 20,000 patient records being compromised, according to The New York Times. Last month, Reuters reported that TRICARE claimed more than 4.9 million health records had been illegally accessed after backup tapes were stolen from the vehicle of a contract information worker.