Jackson Health System adds protection for patient data
Jackson Health System has just launched the Fair Warning monitoring system to add another layer of protection for patient data, said Judy Ringholz, the system’s vice president of compliance and ethics and its chief compliance officer.
Speaking Tuesday to the Public Health Trust, the system’s governing body, Ms. Ringholz said the automated service has a number of features that protect patients’ financial and health data. It constantly monitors, by name and user ID, who is accessing patient files, who is printing documents excessively, and whether that person has a business role that would legitimize the usage.
“UHealth has this and seems very pleased with it,” Ms. Ringholz said. Representatives of the University of Miami health service have offered to walk Jackson Health System employees through the program, she said.
Mojdeh L. Khaghan, trust vice chair and a lawyer in Miami Beach, compared it to a credit card company’s flagging suspicious activity.
“It looks at trends,” said Don Steigman, the system’s chief operating officer. “We can set a patient account to a higher security level if necessary,” perhaps in the case of a celebrity patient.
Protecting patient data has never been more crucial, Ms. Ringholz said. The federal government has changed in the way it enforces HIPAA (the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996), she said.
“Until now, it was their philosophy to work with the organizations to help develop better privacy protections. It wasn’t punitive. Now they feel we’ve had enough time to adopt it, and they are enforcing it to the tune of large penalties.”
Not only did Tenet Healthcare pay a record $513 million fine for paying kickbacks to solicit patients, but its CEO, John Holland, was indicted, Ms. Ringholz said. “Historically, if an organization agreed to a settlement, the government wouldn’t pursue [further legal action]. This makes executives take heed.”
Patients are also concerned about whether their personal data will be protected, she said. Industry surveys show that 60% of patients will travel away from home to protect their privacy, 28% will postpone treatment until their concerns are addressed, and 85% will choose a healthcare provider based on that person’s or organization’s reputation for keeping information secure.