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GAO: More should be done to protect patient privacy

September 23, 2008 by  

Hospitals could be putting patient details at riskToday’s medical facilities say they are committed to implementing the most hi-tech patient data systems available, but do they really know how to protect your personal information?

The lack of an adequate system to safeguard Americans’ electronic medical records could be putting their privacy at risk, a new report from the Government Accountability Office claims.

It explained that although the Department of Health and Human Services had taken actions to identify data security milestones and outcomes, it has still fallen short of ensuring the security of people’s details.

The GAO’s report determined that the HHS had "fallen short" of meeting its security recommendations and may have difficulty winning the trust of the public as a result.

It is not the first time that the office has raised concerns about the U.S. cabinet department’s systems for guarding Americans’ privacy.

For example, a 2006 GAO report found evidence of several data breaches related to Medicare and Medicaid records. More than 40 percent of contractors and state agencies reported a breach during the previous two years.
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