Unencrypted email and data breach

November 10th, 2015 by admin Leave a reply »

An unencrypted email resulted in potential health information data breach for over 500 patients in North Carolina. The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) has experienced a health data breach second time due to an unencrypted email. Earlier, the incident involved the health data breach of 524 state Medicaid patients.

DHHS mentioned that the email that compromised the information was sent to the correct recipient but was unencrypted which is against the policy. Affected information includes Medicaid patients, including patient names, addresses, Medicaid recipient ID numbers, genders, ethnicity, race, insurance information, provider names, Social Security numbers, and dates of birth.

DHHS has plans to overhaul the email encryption process by updating email software. The said software will block any email containing patient information from being sent until the information has been encrypted. DHHS believes that software eliminates the risk of human error.

We take very seriously our responsibility to secure the personal information entrusted to us,said Dave Richard, DHHS deputy secretary in charge of Medicaid. This technology adds a safety net and a layer of protection that goes beyond the human element. This is an important, necessary addition to our workflow.

DHHS also suffered health data security issues back in 2014. DHHS officials believes that it was the agencys responsibility to protect patient information.

I deeply apologize for the impact that this has caused to the citizens of the state,DHHS secretary Aldona Wos explained at the time. First and foremost, I firmly believe as secretary, that it is my obligation to ensure that the children and families we serve receive their health care in a protected and secure environment.

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