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Lutheran, Parkview insist systems are safe

Two local health care systems say they have taken steps to ensure their electronic systems are less vulnerable.

Lutheran Health Network officials say the medical system has had a long-term IT security strategy in place for more than a decade.

“(Lutheran Health) has devoted a considerable amount of time and resources to improve and upgrade its infrastructure with a focus on security,” Geoff Thomas, public relations supervisor, said in a Friday statement. “We routinely patch software systems to combat known vulnerability attack vectors.”

Thomas said Lutheran Health has a “multitier demilitarized zone that separates and secures inside resources from Internet resources.”

“We employ complex encryption algorithms to protect patient data,” he said. “LHN has computing standards in place that locks and logs out the user at a computer workstation after a specified period of inactivity and we regularly train staff on modern information security practices.”

At Parkview Health, Ron Double, chief information officer, said it also is up to date regarding IT security.

“Parkview Health agrees that the pace of change in health information technology has been amazingly fast,” he said in a statement Friday. “However, the potential benefits in improved patient care are well worth the effort required to keep pace with the changes. Parkview is in the process of implementing a new electronic health record system in both its hospitals and physician practices.”

Double said besides following industry standards, Parkview also has an internal Information Security Board.

“The ISB is a multidisciplinary group which devotes itself to the ongoing review of current information security issues in health care,” he said.