Every time I read another story about a messy health care data breach, I first check to see if the breached protected health information included dates of birth and Social Security numbers. That’s my gut-check gauge of just how bad it is, and how painful things will be going forward for the organization that got hit.

The industry wraps layers of technologies and policies around protected health information because (A) it’s a fundamental responsibility of the medical community to keep patient/physician interactions confidential, and (B) it has to, because if it doesn’t follow the rules, you can get in big trouble, and big trouble means lawsuits, heavy fines, public humiliation, and etc. and etc.

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