Why You Should Secure Your Medical Records

white tabbed file folders of paper locked in a secure cabinet

Why You Should Secure Your Medical Records

Better safe than sorry – being careless with patient records can lead to unpleasant consequences for health care providers.

According to Ponemon Institute, the cost of each lost or stolen medical record with sensitive patient information averages at $141. What’s more, since late 2009, patient records of more than 155 million Americans have been compromised according to the recent study by Center for Technology and Innovation at Brookings.

While most of the leaks have occurred due to targeted cyber attacks, underestimating the security of physical records isn’t wise either. HIPAA has clear physical security and privacy guidelines that all health care providers must follow. Failing to abide by those may lead to significant fines.

Why Are Criminals After Medical Records, After All?

Stolen patient data does well on the black market. Private health information and medical records can go for $82.90 a piece for U.S. consumers, whereas a Social Security number has a price tag of just $55.70. In particular, the criminals go after the payment details, home addresses, marital statuses, gender information, and every other bit of confidential information they can get on the person.

This data is later used to commit insurance fraud; purchase prescription-only drugs to re-sell it illegally, and maliciously bill the health care providers. For patients, stolen medical records often result in complete identity theft as criminals use their data to create fake IDs, open bank accounts, and apply for loans.

How To Prevent Theft

Shredding medical records is an efficient way to protect sensitive patient data and prevent theft. FileShred is a Connecticut-based shredding services provider that would be delighted to help your institution secure the paper documents.