Initiative measures the harm of breached patient information

Healthcare organizations are struggling with two key concerns: how to protect patient information and how to better understand the financial harm caused when protected health information (PHI) is lost or stolen.

A new project – led by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), via its Identity Theft Prevention and Identity Management Standards Panel (IDSP), in partnership with the Shared Assessments Program and its Healthcare Working Group – has been launched to explore the financial impact of unauthorized PHI access.

The goal for the “ANSI/Shared Assessments PHI Project” is to identify frameworks for determining the economic impact of any disclosure or breach of protected patient data.

The ANSI/Shared Assessments PHI Project got underway last week with a meeting of its advisory committee. The initiative brings together professionals from across the industry: data security companies, identity theft protection providers and research organizations, legal experts on privacy and security, standards developers, and others.

This effort will culminate in a report targeted at those responsible for and entrusted with protecting and handling PHI. The report will help inform the healthcare industry in making investment decisions to protect PHI, as well as improve responsiveness if and when this patient information is breached.

The group plans to tackle the problem by identifying existing legal protections related to PHI, defining points of compromise in the healthcare ecosystem where there are risks of exposure, and assessing the financial impacts of the disclosure of PHI. A survey is also contemplated to support the fact-finding process.

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