Since passage of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) in 1996, healthcare organizations now face stiff penalties for the unauthorized release of patient information. However, with cyberthreats on the rise, the risk of patient data breaches is higher than ever. In fact, studies show that more than three-quarters of healthcare organizations have suffered some sort of incident that compromised patient records, costing the industry about $5.6 billion annually. The overwhelming majority of these incidents were the result of improper IT security systems.
A well-publicized healthcare data breach occurred in 2010, when Affinity Health Plan, a New York-based provider of low-cost health insurance, failed to delete protected patient information from the hard drives of leased copiers before returning them to the leasing company. Over 340,000 patients’ records were exposed, costing the company 1.2 million dollars in settlement costs with the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), which considers all document imaging devices to be workstations that must be secured and maintained according to HIPAA guidelines.
A more recent and costly incident occurred in 2015, when Anthem suffered a massive data breach that compromised the records of approximately 80 million customers and employees.
Printer security solutions
One vendor that has made printer security in healthcare a priority is HP. The company’s Access Control Printing Solutions are designed to enhance security in healthcare organizations, help providers meet privacy and compliance regulations, lower the cost of printing, reduce overhead costs and improve overall productivity.
HP Access Control is a suite of printing solution modules that deliver print authentication, auditing, authorization, accounting and secure pull printing capabilities that are scalable across the healthcare organization. With its modular design, HP Access Control integrates easily within a customer’s existing IT infrastructure, offering lots of flexibility.
Xerox is another leading vendor that offers solutions for securing document imaging technology. Xerox Secure Print Manager Suite allows organizations to authenticate users for secure printing anywhere—without putting data at risk—and implement pull printing and other print security measures, either on premises or in the cloud.
Of course, the choice of a solution will depend on what kind of printing resources your healthcare customers have in place. But “must have” capabilities should include authentication and pull printing—both essential for implementing the best possible safeguards.
Standard operating procedure for healthcare organizations
With healthcare costs continuing to escalate, along with the incidence of cybercrime, your healthcare customers should make securing their document imaging resources a top priority. The costs of patient data breaches in dollars and cents—and reputation—are just too high a price to pay.