Healthcare News & Insights

Patient data breached after employee copied records for training class

Healthcare organizations must be careful about malicious insiders stealing patient information for personal gain. But it’s also possible for employees to breach patient privacy accidentally.

For example, in one recent incident, protected health information about 12 patients was breached at a hospital in Reading, PA.

According to Reading Hospital officials, data contained in those patients’ records were copied by an employee without patient consent and in violation of hospital policy.

But the employee wasn’t trying to steal sensitive patient data. The person — who wasn’t identified and has since been fired — copied the records to use for a class on coding and billing at an unaffiliated institution, the Reading Eagle reports.

However, the incident was still considered a breach of protected health information, and the affected patients were notified, as required by law.

Healthcare organizations should conduct regular training on patient privacy issues. That could help stop unintentional data breaches like this one from happening.

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