Data Breach, HIPAA / HITECH Enforcement, News Events, OCR HIPAA Audits, Risk Analysis/Risk Management

Dermatology Practice Settles Potential HIPAA Violations $150,000 Plus Corrective Action Plan

Adult & Pediatric Dermatology, P.C., of Concord, Mass., (APDerm) has agreed to settle potential violations of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) Privacy,  Security, and Breach Notification Rules with the Department of Health and Human Services, agreeing to a $150,000 payment. APDerm will also be required to implement a corrective action plan to correct deficiencies in its HIPAA compliance program.  APDerm is a private practice that delivers dermatology services in four locations in Massachusetts and two in New Hampshire. This case marks the first settlement with a covered entity for not having policies and procedures in place to address the breach notification provisions of the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act, passed as part of American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA).

The HHS Office for Civil Rights (OCR) opened an investigation of APDerm upon receiving a report that an unencrypted thumb drive containing the electronic protected health information (ePHI) of approximately 2,200 individuals was stolen from a vehicle of one its staff members. The thumb drive was never recovered.  The investigation revealed that APDerm had not conducted an accurate and thorough analysis of the potential risks and vulnerabilities to the confidentiality of ePHI as part of its security management process.  Further, APDerm did not fully comply with requirements of the Breach Notification Rule to have in place written policies and procedures and train workforce members.

In addition to a $150,000 resolution amount, the settlement includes a corrective action plan requiring AP Derm to develop a risk analysis and risk management plan to address and mitigate any security risks and vulnerabilities, as well as to provide an implementation report to OCR.

The resolution agreement and press release can be found on the OCR website at

For assistance please contact RISC Management.


Education, Tip of the Week, Trends & Technology, Upcoming Events

Informatics Data Security and HIMSS14

Modernizing your systems and keeping up to date is a daunting task in the healthcare industry. However, upgrades, replacements, or modernization of systems is the best option to improve data security and ensure optimal provision of healthcare services.


Informatics is a broad term that includes a myriad of focus areas to meet the evolving needs of technology. There are various fields of study being offered such as social informatics, cheminformatics, security informatics, bioinformatics, and health informatics to name only a few. Degrees are available including a Bachelor of Science in Informatics where a student can study basic concepts of software architecture, a Master of Science in Informatics, and a Ph.D. in Informatics. The internet provides descriptions of many universities offering informatics such as Vanderbilt University School of Nursing, Chamberlain College of Nursing, the University of Michigan, and many more.

In healthcare those in the field of informatics are referred to as clinical informatics. Many clinical informatics are physicians, nurses, and other health care staff who received augmented training in the application of technology to investigate issues in their field. In addition, they are able to interpret, analyze and substantively use electronic health record technology to provide efficiency along with safety in their clinical practice. Knowledge of workflow and project management comes into play as well.

The HIMSS14 Sneak Peek, is a great starting place for those interested or curious about this evolving field. Parker (2013) the Chief Nursing Informatics Officer for Rubbermaid Healthcare, stated her reasons for attending including obtaining her required continuing education as well as the social aspect of networking. Researching new ideas is the main focus why Rabinowitz (2013), Director of Federal Markets, Socrata will attend HIMSS14. He said healthcare data can make the largest contribution in five areas: improving standards of living, improving quality of care, improving provider access, improving value, and improving access to innovation. Rabinowitz (2013) is an advocate for evidence based medicine and innovation.

HIMSS14 will be held in Orlando, Florida with the Nursing Informatics Symposium starting on Saturday, February 22nd, 2014. However, the actual start date begins Monday, February 24th. For more information please visit:

Sponsored by: RISC Management,


Parker, C.D.(2013). HIMSS14’s value to clinicians: It’s more than a shopping trip. Retrieved from

Rabinowitz, S. (2013). Using health data in innovative ways. Retrieved from