Hospital battles physical, data theft

Highlighting security deficiencies, University of Miami Hospital has suffered dozens of thefts, following a $14 million drug heist in August, the Miami New Times reported.

Not long after that incident, the hospital announced a patient data breach stemming from two former employees inappropriately accessing registration "face sheets" that contained names, addresses, dates of birth, insurance policy numbers and reasons for the visit.

While the theft of health data dominates headlines, the theft of physical assets also prevents hospitals from providing a safe and secure environment.

So far this year, University of Miami Hospital has had 25 robberies reported, with six in September alone, the article noted.

According to the reports, thieves broke into cars on hospital property and stole radios, iPhones and purses, as well as a $90,000 defibrillator and three pacemakers worth $24,000. One theft involved a disabled woman who had $500 in jewelry and her Social Security card taken while she was out of her hospital room for testing.

The events at the university hospital point to the the need for heightened security. But improvements in security don't have to be complex or costly. Resource-limited organizations can provide visitors with temporary badges or train existing security staff and providers to detect and alert others of suspicious activity or persons, FierceHealthcare previously reported.

Healthcare providers also can be victimized by their own employees. To prevent employee embezzlement, hospitals can recognize red flags and take several critical precautions, such as using a legal and transparent screening process to check potential hires' credit upfront, FiercePracticeManagement previously reported.

To learn more:
- read the Miami New Times article