Is Your Automated Healthcare Information Secure?

Is Your Automated Healthcare Information Secure?

Mhamed Zineddine (AlHosn University, UAE)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61350-123-8.ch006
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Information security issues are a serious matter that organizations from all industries have to deal with. The healthcare industry is no exception. Personally identifiable healthcare information automated by the healthcare industry can be stolen, intercepted, altered, and misused. Acceptable safeguards, therefore, have to be in place in order to ensure the privacy and protection of this information. Without governmental intervention however, it seems unlikely that the healthcare industry will voluntarily implement such safeguards. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) security rule has emerged and been mandated by Congress from the need of such intervention. The quantitative investigation in this chapter is aimed at determining if covered entities in Washington State are HIPAA security rule ready after two years from the compliance deadline, and if the factors identified through the literature review are a hindrance to HIPAA security rule compliance. This research study revealed that HIPAA Security Rule full compliance is far from achieved; many factors have emerged as impediments to the compliance process, and the way to compliance is complex and costly. Tracking the compliance progress within healthcare institutions in Washington State over the last five years revealed that the reaction to the HIPAA Security Rule was strong around the mandated date; the response after the mandated date, however, has been weak. Covered entities should brace themselves to the new level of enforcement due to the recent American Recovery Reinvestment Act (ARRA).
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Background Of The Study

As Information Technology has become a part of the core business in today's organizations and the fabric of our daily lives, the security of private and personal information has become an increasing concern. This concern has evolved as the rate of computer-related crimes has risen especially in the areas of hacking, theft, fraud, sabotage, and cyber terrorism. Changes in cultural, social, economic, and business boundaries make Information Systems (IS) easy to reach. Private and personal information can be remotely targeted. The value of this information makes it attractive to hackers, thieves, and rivals.

Information security, however, has evolved through time alongside the bad guys. Organizations' policies and rules to protect sensitive data have been evolving through careful trial and error over the last 20 years.

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