VA cuts down on data breaches with improved document protection practices

The Veterans Affairs Department has significantly cut down on data breaches in the past few years, thanks to improved document protection practices and technology, Government Health IT recently reported.

The news source noted that VA CIO Roger Baker holds a monthly gathering of reporters to announce any data breaches the department has experienced. Lately, these reports have become "boring," due to the lack of major breaches. In June, for example, there were nine mis-mailed prescriptions, with more than 6 million reaching their destinations unhindered. There were no electronic data breaches of any sort.

The news source attributed this decrease largely to efforts to improve document protection on laptops following the 2006 theft of an unprotected device containing millions of veterans' files. While these efforts have cost the agency some money, the VA's reputation has improved significantly, according to Government Health IT.

Studies reinforce this notion. A recent report from the Ponemon Institute found that 62 percent of individuals whose data was potentially lost by healthcare institutions became less confident and trusting in those organizations as a direct result.

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