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Imaging data is unprotected online: Five takeaways from ProPublica report

by John R. Fischer, Senior Reporter | September 20, 2019
Cyber Security Health IT

More than 40 million people have had their medical information compromised in the last two years, according to records from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Despite this, government penalties for violating patient privacy are not harsh enough, with HHS recently lowering the maximum annual fine from $1.5 million to $250,000 for “corrected willful neglect,” which is when a company knowingly commits failures or shows indifference for problems it tries to fix, according to ProPublica, which reported that large enterprises even go as far as negotiating the costs of fines with the government.

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“It’s 2019,” said Joy Pritts, a former HHS privacy official. “There’s no reason for this.”

The investigation builds on the findings of Greenbone Networks, a German-based security firm that has uncovered similar issues in at least 52 countries on every inhabited continent. The findings by both stress the need for healthcare institutes to be more rigid in their adherence to security and install proper protocols, leadership assignments and plans that ensure their patient data is secure, private and protected.

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