Dartmouth College researchers have found that health care data is as easily accessible on peer-to-peer (P2P) networks now as it was before the enactment of a new U.S. data security law last September. The study found that more than 20 percent of the documents researchers discovered after performing keyword searches on P2P networks contained information that would be protected under the law, known as the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act.
The study found that much of the sensitive data found on P2P networks—such as insurance information, sensitive patient communications, and personally identifiable information—was contained in insecure spreadsheets and Microsoft Word documents. Dartmouth professor Eric Johnson says this indicates that many organizations are not taking steps to adequately protect data as they are required to do under the HITECH Act.
The study also found that many organizations were not even aware that they were leaking information over P2P networks, Johnson says.
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Abstracts Copyright © 2010 Information Inc., Bethesda, Maryland, USA
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