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Data protection: a big health care liability concern

It's like a mushroom cloud of expanding worry and concerns.

When it comes to data protection (that is, the firmly locked up and safely secured proprietary information regarding patients, billing and other confidential information that so centrally marks the medical industry), medical organizations in the United States are behind the ball.

And that state of affairs persists when they strongly need to be "ahead of the curve," according to a recent report that assesses the adequacy of record retention, storage, back up and replication.

And, of course, security, meaning the ability of private information to be kept firmly out of the hands of cybersecurity criminals intent on using it for profit

Reportedly, it's not clear who's winning.

Medical industry principals already have enough to worry about, with the constant accretion of regulatory hoops and hurdles to comply with, progressively escalating malpractice concerns, health care fraud probes and additional matters.

Cybersecurity concerns threaten to dwarf those considerations, given what's at stake. A recent news article on data protection in the American health care industry states that when a security breach forces computerized downtime at a medical facility in the United States, that system is unavailable for about 22 hours in any given instance.

And then there's this: That glitch costs on average about $555,000 each time.

As large as cyber concerns obviously are, they are but a single component in a realm of almost infinite factors that challenge the American medical industry.

Health care principals routinely confront truly broad-based regulatory and compliance issues that must be dealt with in a proactive, timely and smart manner.

Many industry professionals reasonably consult with proven health law attorneys well versed in matters that centrally affect hospitals, doctors and other providers. An experienced legal advocate that routinely represents health care clients can help ensure that they are protected against liability and that their best interests are fully protected.

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