The Affordable Care Act offers financial incentives to healthcare organizations and providers who improve quality and reduce costs by forming networks called Accountable Care Organizations. An ACO can include specialists, hospitals, post-acute care providers, medical supply companies, and commercial pharmacies like CVS; and they always include primary care doctors. About 14 per cent of the U.S. population is being served by an ACO, and may or may not be aware of it.

In an ACO, doctors and hospitals cooperatively care for patients and share financial and medical records, with the goal of eliminating spending on extraneous procedures and tests. According to CMS, 114 provider groups saved a total of $380 million the first year of the Medicare ACO program. Sharing data presents challenges, however.

Ponemon Institute’s Fourth Annual Benchmark Study on Patient Privacy and Data Security, issued earlier this spring, reported that two-thirds of ACO participants said that the risk of PHI exposure has increased “due to the exchange of health information among providers.”

Top five concerns of healthcare organizations according to the Ponemon survey:

  1. Employee negligence, 75%
  2. Public cloud service insecurity, 41%
  3. Mobile device insecurity, 40%
  4. Cyber attacks, 39%
  5. Employee-owned mobile devices, 34%

Coordinating care and improving the health of those at-risk requires ACOs to share data. Encryption of sensitive information and securing all devices within an organization will help ACOs achieve their objectives while protecting patient information from being compromised.

EdgeWave’s mission is to help healthcare professionals improve quality by securing sensitive data in motion.  Read about EdgeWave’s success in the healthcare industry and download your free cyber security kit here, or visit EdgeWave for more information.