Healthcare Industry Not Prepared to Protect Patient Privacy; Data Breaches Rising

Monday, October 3rd, 2011
This post was written by Cheryl Miller

As new uses for digital health information emerge and access to confidential patient information expands, a majority of healthcare organizations are not prepared to protect patient privacy and secure data, says a new report from the Health Research Institute (HRI) at PwC US. And medical identity theft is on the rise; according to a recent PwC HRI survey, theft accounted for two thirds of total reported health data breaches over the past two years. Healthcare organizations need to update practices and adopt a more integrated approach to ensure that patient information doesn’t fall into the wrong hands, the report advises. We report on this story at length in this week’s Healthcare Business Weekly Update.

Annual premiums for employer-sponsored family health coverage increased to $15,073 this year, up 9 percent from last year, according to a recent Employer Health Benefits survey from the Kaiser Family Foundation/Health Research & Educational Trust (HRET). Premiums increased significantly faster than workers’ wages and general inflation.

To help its members navigate healthcare services and costs, BCBSF has introduced a new transparency tool, “Know Before You Go.” Designed to help its members navigate through the healthcare system, it provides information based on hospital data reported by CMS. The tool is customized to a member’s benefits and takes into account deductibles, copays and/or coinsurance amounts and estimates how much a treatment or procedure will cost.

And we are compiling research for our second annual survey on tactics to reduce avoidable emergency room visits. We will e-mail all respondents a summary of results once they are compiled. To participate, click here.

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