Patient data security: How hospitals keep pace

By Susan D. Hall

In their efforts to secure patient data, hospital executives continue to worry about mobile devices--and are employing technology to help. But they acknowledge that the human factor remains the trickiest part of data security.

"There's this expectation that you should have access to everything, everywhere," Peter Odegard, information security officer at Children's Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota, told FierceHealthIT of his concerns about the consumerization of mobile devices.

A second big worry is that the number of vendor partners that host, store or analyze data just keeps growing.

Government regulations such as the Meaningful Use program and the HIPAA regulations have been a good thing, he says, because they have provided funding and mandate security practices such as risk assessment.

"It's giving us broader input," he said. "Now we're collaborating across departments and pushing priorities. It's providing accountability that we didn't really have before."

Odegard and two other executives--Frank Davis, Chief Medical Informatics Officer at Savannah, Georgia-based Memorial University Medical Center, and Denver Health CIO Jeff Pelot--recently spoke to FierceHealthIT about their efforts to protect patient data across a variety of platforms.