The federal list of major healthcare information breaches that have occurred since September 2009 didn't grow much in the past month. The list now includes 272 cases affecting a total of almost 10.9 million individuals.
The Obama administration's plan for a federal data breach notification policy is too vague to be effective, and it lacks teeth to penalize violators, according to experts who raise open questions about the proposal.
More than 30,000 enrollees in a Medicare supplementary insurance plan from Anthem Blue Cross are being offered free credit monitoring services after they were mailed notices that apparently displayed their Social Security numbers in the envelope window.
Kazuo Hirai, a top Sony executives, says the company is applying advanced security technology, increasing levels of encryption, adding firewalls and implementing early warning systems to detect attacks on network.
"Raising the security awareness of your workforce is your best defense against having a breach incident," says David Holtzman, who's on the federal team that enforces the HITECH Act breach notification rule.
A key factor in ensuring that information technology is available in the wake of a disaster is cross-training IT staff to handle multiple roles, says Terrell Herzig, information security officer at UAB Medicine.
An incident recently added to the official federal list of major health information breaches offers a reminder that dental practices, as well as medical practices, must adequately protect patient records.