EHR Spending, DHSS Enforcement on the Rise

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Spending on EHR software and security measures is expected to top $70 billion nationwide by 2015, according to a report from Princeton, NJ consulting group the Boyd Company. An increased emphasis by the federal government on the privacy and security of patient information is significantly responsible for this push, a fact that was underscored in remarks from Leon Rodriguez, director of the Office for Civil Rights, the civil rights and health privacy rights law enforcement arm of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. As HIPAA czar, Rodriguez delivered remarks earlier this week that indicated the government would be dropping the hammer on providers who fail to get their houses in order. Since 2009, DHSS has been shaming sites that see security breaches compromising more than 500 patients. The department just settled a $1.5 million case against Blue Cross Blue Shield of Tennessee over a 2009 loss of 57 hard drives from a data storage closet. The open security foundation DataLossDB has tracked five such breaches involving medical imaging records in the past year alone.