How to Protect your Patient’s Data from a Security Breach

patient data breach

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Data breaches can be devastating, and healthcare organizations continue to account for a significant share of reported data breaches. Why? Health care facilities carry some of the most sensitive data files, supplying hackers with the intel that has limitless potential to not only effect the health care organization that they have infiltrated, but also the patients involved in the breach.

No company is immune from a security attack or breach. Keeping patient, clinic and hospital information secure is critical, but that’s a challenge that is becoming more difficult to address as the number of attempted breaches rises. Breaches occur due to email security, lost devices, poor network security or hardware intrusion.

Did you know that 89% of health care organizations have already experienced a breach of some kind over the course of their time in operation. That means that 1/3 of Americans experiencing data breaches are patients – and that patient relationship made them vulnerable. It’s estimated that over 25 million Americans will have their data stolen from their health care provider’s digitized record base. This is one reason it is so important to take care of problems now so that you can better prepare for tomorrow.

It’s no surprise that more and more Americans are concerned about their medical and personal data being targeted by hackers.  Although a breach can happen in a variety of different ways, the most common cause of breaches within the health care field is simply human error. Using unauthorized cloud-based apps, using weak passwords, shared passwords between healthcare providers, losing  backup discs and poorly protected servers are some of the most common errors.

So what can you do as a healthcare provider to reduce your chances of a security breach?

  • Test for Weaknesses. Don’t just assume your security measures are working – test them regularly for weaknesses and vulnerabilities before would-be attackers discover them.
  • Don’t Forget the Human Element. No matter how good your information security protection is, if your employees  don’t understand their roles and processes, they could inadvertently help facilitate a breach. Continual training is imperative – give your employees the knowledge and tools they need to be aware and proactive.
  • Don’t assume you won’t have a breach. Even if you have all your security measures in place, make sure you have a response procedure in place and employees know how to contain and react to breaches.
  • Last, but surely not least make sure you have the proper Cyber Security Insurance coverage in place in the event of a breach.  Sit down with your agent to discuss

As healthcare IT becomes more advanced, new security issues will arise, so it’s important to keep up with current conflicts to protect your patients and your practice.  We suggest monthly internal audits and regularly scheduled team meetings to ensure you are doing the best you can to protect your client’s privacy. 

It’s up to you to protect your patients and organization. At Litchfield Bancorp, we know how stressful that can be, so we make banking with us easy. To learn more about banking with us, give us a call or stop into any of our locations.


Bob E. Teittinen
Commercial Lender, Senior Vice President

Author: Robert Teittinen

Bob Teittinen joined Litchfield Bancorp in 2011 as a senior vice president and chief lending officer. Bob is a 27 year veteran of banking and is known locally for his expertise in helping mid-sized businesses with commercial lending. Bob is responsible for growing the bank’s commercial loan portfolio and overseeing the bank’s commercial, residential and consumer loan portfolios. Prior to joining the bank, Bob was senior vice president at Union Savings Bank and throughout his career has worked at regional banks; Banknorth, Webster and Shawmut. He also spent 11 years in the private business sector, which he considers an invaluable asset when it comes to commercial lending. A resident of Litchfield, Bob plays an active role in the community. This includes his induction into the Chamber of Commerce of NW CT’s Hall of Fame in 2008. He currently serves on a number of boards including the Chamber of Commerce of NW CT Foundation, Naugatuck Valley Development Corporation and Easter Seals of Greater Waterbury.