Mobile devices make it easier to store, share and steal medical records

July 21, 2011 by MassDevice staff

Mobile devices pose unique risks for patient medical records, but not because of hackers or viruses - they're easier to steal or lose.

MassDevice On Call

MASSDEVICE ON CALL — Patient medical records are harder to keep safe when they're stored on mobile devices like iPads and smartphones, but it's not because of an innate vulnerability in mobile platforms - it's because they're easier to steal.

More than 116 cases of data breaches that exposed at least 500 patient records resulting from loss or theft were reported in less than two years, according to a Dept. of Health & Human report spanning Sept. 22, 2009, to May 8, 2011.

More than 1.9 million patient records were collectively exposed through those incidents, EMR Daily News reported.

The news validates the mantra that software hackers aren't the real threat when it comes to digital patient records. Physical theft and loss account for more than 60 percent of all security breaches involving medical records in HHS investigations (only incidents that expose 500 records or more were reported).

Hacking, like the recent software virus that exposed more than 2,000 patient records at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, made up 6 percent of reported incidents.

"HIPPA violations aren't happening in the cloud. Rather, they're happening in the doctor's office, hospital IT closets, cars, subways, and homes," Software Advice wrote.

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