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P2P networks a treasure trove of leaked health care data, study finds




P2P networks a treasure trove of leaked health care data, study finds
P2P networks a treasure trove of leaked health care data, study finds



http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9176883/P2P_networks_a_treasure_trove_of_leaked_health_care_data_study_finds 

By Jaikumar Vijayan
Computerworld
May 17, 2010

Nearly eight months after new rules were enacted requiring stronger 
protection of health care information, organizations are still leaking 
such data on file-sharing networks, a study by Dartmouth College's Tuck 
School of Business has found.

In a research paper to be presented at an IEEE security symposium 
Tuesday, a Dartmouth College professor Eric Johnson will describe how 
university researchers discovered thousands of documents containing 
sensitive patient information on popular peer-to-peer (P2P) networks.

One of the more than 3,000 files discovered by the researchers was a 
spreadsheet containing insurance details, personally identifying 
information, physician names and diagnosis codes on more than 28,000 
individuals. Another document contained similar data on more than 7,000 
individuals. Many of the documents contained sensitive patient 
communications, treatment data, medical diagnoses and psychiatric 
evaluations. At least five files contained enough information to be 
classified as a major breach under current health-care breach 
notification rules.

While some of the documents appear to have been leaked before the Obama 
administration's Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical 
Health (HITECH) Act was enacted, many appear to be fairly recent. A 
previous study by Dartmouth in 2008 also unearthed files containing 
health-care data floating on P2P networks, such as Limewire, eDonkey and 
BearShare. Among the documents found in that study was one containing 
350MB of patient data for a group of anesthesiologists and another on 
patients at an AIDS clinic in Chicago.

[...]


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