Electronic health and medical records can be found in virtually every healthcare context these days. Dental offices, clinics, hospitals, long-term residential care facilities, and physicians’ offices all rely on digitized patient information. However, healthcare organizations are also responsible for maintaining the integrity and security of their data, protecting patient files from accidental or intentional leaks. If you work as a healthcare leader, here are three things to keep in mind when it comes to patient data security.
Backups play a significant role in your IT strategy, and it is vital that you maintain backups in the event of equipment failure or loss. However, these backups shouldn’t be accessible to just any person who accesses this information. Scrambling your data with encryption can prevent someone from viewing and leaking data, even if they have stolen a backup drive. Only those authorized to decrypt this information can access the data copies. Healthcare organizations should explore encryption for both cloud and hardware backups.
Data theft is usually a crime of opportunity. For example, someone might steal a physician’s smartphone if it is forgotten on a bus stop bench. If the smartphone hasn’t been secured with a passcode, then all of the data on this physician’s smartphone becomes compromised. This can be a major confidentiality concern, since the physician might have sensitive patient correspondences and documents on the smartphone. You can prevent issues such as these by using best practices to secure both remote and in-house technologies. Require that employees use passcodes on all devices that store work-related information. If possible, use services like Android Device Manager or iCloud to track and remotely wipe devices if they are stolen or lost. This can help ensure that sensitive information doesn’t get leaked out to unauthorized viewers.
Secure Database Software
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recommend that healthcare organizations search for electronic health record software with built-in data security safeguards, including database record encryption and audit trails. Before you commit to a particular EHR system, talk to your IT department to ensure that this software solution is actually reputable and secure.
Your patients rely on healthcare organizations to maintain their HIPAA rights. Medical facilities can protect themselves against healthcare litigation by ensuring that their record keeping systems are secure. Your patients can benefit greatly if your organization invests in secure tech solutions and best practices.