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ONC Moves Forward with Healthcare IT Security Plan

The Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT has presented new plans strengthen security and cybersecurity efforts that will cost millions over the next year-and-a-half.

Among the actions will be a request that citizens submit their experiences with EHRs to the ONC, so the office can better understand where the focus should be.

The initiative will not only look to asses the dangers of health IT, but to provide solutions to the problems.

“ONC recognizes that breaches are a serious issue,“ said Cybersecurity Working Group coordinator Dr. Deborah Lafky. “Despite stronger laws regarding breach notification, we must be vigilant and ensure they are reported. What may be surprising are the statistics. For example, we know that in the past 5 years, 80 percent of reported lost records were the result of hard drives, laptops, and other storage devices that disappeared. Interestingly, less than 10 percent of health care information breaches resulted from hacking or Internet crime.“

The goal of the initiative is to create policies to ensure proper security practices, including securing all computers that contain patient data, protecting laptops with a combination of physical, technology, and policy-related methods, locking drive bays to prevent hard drives from being removed, placing servers in secure areas, strictly limiting access, and maintaining entry/exit logs and establishing security policies that require the use of a high-grade encryption algorithm.

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