New Hospital Data Security Benchmarking Survey Results Released

A new hospital data security benchmarking survey has been released by the American Hospital Association (AHA), with this year’s annual report, the 17th Annual Healthcare’s ‘Most Wired’ Survey, showing data security is a major priority for hospitals, in particular, the introduction of data theft prevention and breach detection systems.

The responses to the survey are assessed an ACA panel and winners are selected, based on the efforts made throughout the year. Participants are assessed on the improvements made to quality and safety, how clinical integration has been improved, and the advances made toward full interoperability. The enhancements made to back office processes, such as business and administration management, are also assessed. The “Most Wired” healthcare providers for 2015 are detailed here.

This year, 2,213 hospitals were represented by 741 individuals, with 338 hospitals having achieved the minimum required standards of health IT planning and implementation to be considered “Most Wired.”

Hospital Data Security Benchmarking Survey

One of the main aims of the hospital data security benchmarking survey is to assess the overall pace at which Information Technology is being introduced by hospitals. The results show patient engagement is improving in U.S hospitals, with further improvements planned for the following year. The introduction of patient portals has been a past priority, with many now offering this method of communication.

Improving and streamlining patient communication methods are important, but data security is the main priority for the majority of hospitals and healthcare providers.

Improving data security is a challenge; but it is planned to be met by incorporating better internal auditing systems, privacy controls, and new intrusion detection systems. Many hospitals are also planning improvements to data backup systems to prevent data loss.

IT professionals were asked about the Security measures being addressed over the course of the next 12 months. The results show many IT professionals are introducing multiple strategies to deal with the threat of data theft and loss.

  • Privacy Audit Systems (94%)
  • Data Loss Prevention (83%)
  • Single Sign-on (83%)
  • Identity Management (79%)
  • Cybersecurity incident response testing (79%)
  • Provisioning System (77%)

The survey was conducted in partnership with the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME) and was sponsored by VMware. Frank Nydam, Senior Director of Healthcare at VMware, said “With the rising number of patient data breaches and cybersecurity attacks threatening the healthcare industry, protecting patient health information is a top priority for hospital customers.”

In the press release, he also said “Coupled with the incredible technology innovation taking place today, healthcare organizations need to have security as a foundational component of their mobility, cloud and networking strategy and incorporated into the very fabric of the organization.”

Key Findings of the 2015 Benchmarking Survey

Patient engagement is also improving. 67% of hospitals have started offering mobile applications that allow patient-generated data to be collected, 63% have introduced self-management tools for disease and chronic illness management, and 60% of hospitals offer “patient-specific” digital education materials, including multi-language support.

84% of hospitals have introduced new IT systems and/or EHRs that allow doctors to view and exchange other facilities’ results, while 76% of EHRs are now being used to exchange health information securely. The results show 81% of “Most Wired” hospitals are now communicating with patients via email. 89% of healthcare organizations are now offering patient portal access via mobiles.

The report is available for download here.

Author: Richard Anderson

Richard Anderson is the Editor-in-Chief of