The Norman Transcript

Headlines

January 20, 2013

HIPAA compliance: does your doctor really care?

NORMAN — Recent trips to the doctor’s office have once again led me to question the security of my private medical and financial information. While most people turn a blind eye to how patient records are handled by their favorite doctor or hospital, the security of such records has never been more important.

It’s my observation that, while most doctors, nurses and secretaries have at least heard of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), many of them aren’t really aware of what is required by the law and a shocking number of health professionals couldn’t seem to care less.

HIPAA basically states that doctors, nurses, office staff, insurance agencies, attorneys, secretaries, vendors, and anyone else who handles patient data must ensure that names, addresses, telephone numbers, social security, credit card, insurance, bank account and other identifying numbers that make their way onto computers must be protected from loss, corruption and unauthorized access.

Computers should not be left unattended in unlocked rooms. Anti-theft measures should be in place. Computers and file systems should be password protected, and particularly sensitive files should be encrypted. Antivirus and antihacker measures should be in place. Patient data stolen by thieves or hackers, destroyed by accidents such as a storm, or damaged by a computer virus has lost its privacy, integrity, and has become unavailable. All three situations can be considered violations, incurring non-compliance citations.

Case in point is Providence Health & Services, a Seattle, Washington-based health care organization, which was once punished to the tune of $100,000 for lax security policies. An investigation by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services revealed that Providence had experienced the loss or theft of numerous laptop computers, CDs and backup tapes that contained the private medical records of over 386,000 Providence patients. Sadly, none of the lost or stolen information was encrypted or password-protected. Providence is also being forced to implement a rigorous security program designed to stop such unconscionable losses.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Headlines
  • Water carry 5 Water Walk opens discussion about difficulties in obtaining safe H2O

    With large white plastic buckets upon their heads, two gallons of water sloshed to the brim and over the side, but the students trudged on down the South Oval. The farthest feat was to the Seed Sower, and as the sun glared down, heat ...

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Council OKs $48.8M contract for wastewater plant upgrades

    The Norman City Council awarded a $48.8 million project for wastewater treatment plant upgrades Tuesday. The council accepted a $50.3 million low-interest loan from the Clean Water State Revolving Fund....

    April 23, 2014

  • Transportation officials find more cracks in Lexington-Purcell bridge, but repairs on track

    State transportation officials announced Tuesday that additional repairs are needed in at least 96 places on the Lexington-Purcell bridge before it can be opened....

    April 23, 2014

  • Stacy Ford named 2014 Norman schools Teacher of the Year during banquet

    Stacy Ford, Kennedy Elementary librarian, was named 2014 Norman Public Schools Teacher of the Year at the district’s annual Celebration of Excellence banquet Tuesday evening at the National Center for Employee Development....

    April 23, 2014

  • Okla. House defeats bond issue to repair Capitol

    OKLAHOMA CITY — The Oklahoma House has defeated legislation that would authorize up to $160 million in bonds to repair the state’s nearly 100-year-old Capitol....

    April 23, 2014

  • Fallin signs bill for Okla. trooper raises

    OKLAHOMA CITY — Gov. Mary Fallin has signed a bill that would give Oklahoma Highway Patrol troopers their first pay raise in seven years, although the pay increase won’t come unless money is included in a separate budget proposal....

    April 23, 2014

  • At mudslide scene, Obama mourns with survivors

    OSO, Wash. — Swooping over a landscape of unspeakable sadness and death, President Barack Obama took an aerial tour Tuesday of the place where more than three dozen people perished in a mudslide last month. He pledged a nation’s solidarity ...

    April 23, 2014

  • Blood drive planned Thursday

    Moore Norman Technology Center, 4701 12th Ave. NW in Norman, will host an Oklahoma Blood Institute public blood drive from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Thursday inside room A109 in the main building of MNTC’s Franklin Road campus.  The OBI is in ...

    April 23, 2014

  • Local student to attend arts camp

    Kate Kemmet, 15, of Norman, has been accepted and will attend Interlochen Arts Camp. Kemmet, the daughter of Rob and Lori Kemmet, will study musical theater at the Camp....

    April 23, 2014

  • Coalition seeks more jobs

    A coalition of groups that encourage employment of residents who have disabilities hopes to double the number of placed workers by next fall....

    April 23, 2014

Video
Facebook