Health care outlets pay $4.8 million after 6,800 patient records leak on the web

Want to know why health care institutions can be antsy about making their patient data available online? Here's why: Columbia University and the New York and Presbyterian Hospital have paid a total of $4.8 million to settle charges after they inadvertently leaked the records of 6,800 patients to the web in 2010. The organizations allegedly didn't do enough to identify systems that had sensitive info, leaving them unprepared when a physician switched off a personal server that was keeping the records private. Both outlets are overhauling their policies in the wake of the settlement, so a repeat incident is less likely. Still, the breach is a not-so-friendly reminder that there are big risks to putting medical histories on networked computers -- your data is only as safe as the system it's on.

[Image credit: Presidencia de la Republica del Ecuador, Flickr]