January 28, 2015

When a Burglary Can Lead to HIPAA Hot Water

medicalrecordstheftMany small medical practices never think about the eventual disaster of a burglary. Even fewer never consider what would happen if an intruder during the course of a burglary managed to steal the practice’s computer server or workstation – with the practice’s patient records. Your practice now went from a simple police report to a HIPAA Breach Nightmare involving attorneys and government agencies as well as the media.

Some hard questions soon come to mind:

  • What would this real life scenario do to your practice the day after?
  • What long term affects would an event like this have on your practice?
  • What would happen to your reputation ?

One such practice found out just how disastrous a burglary in a medical practice can be.

Jeffrey P. Edelstein, MD (read the source article), an oculoplastics specialist in Chandler, Ariz found out first hand. Last spring a computer server was stolen during a burglary. While the practice was able to continue seeing patients, the break-in triggered a waterfall of actions mandated by HIPAA.

He shares his experience to highlight how deeply the regulations can affect your practice.

“I entered my practice at 8 p.m. on Memorial Day. I may have interrupted a crime in progress. The doors were open. The lights were on. Multiple items were missing—including our computer server,” recalled Dr. Edelstein. “We were able to fully restore all stolen data within 48 hours of the robbery.

However, it took months to navigate through, and fulfill, all the HIPAA requirements. What’s more, the psychological impact was enormous for patients, staff, and myself.”

What can be done to protect your practice from a breach? Secure your practice.

Need more information? Visit us on the web and schedule your FREE HIPAA Facility Physical Security Checklist here: