Protecting Your Healthcare Information Starts with You

The hazards to data privacy and security grow as healthcare data volume soars. In addition to compromising patient relationships and harming your organization's reputation, privacy and security breaches can be extremely expensive.

For instance, HIPAA security violations can result in annual fines of up to $1.5 million.

Additionally, unlike in the past, the HIPAA Final Omnibus Rule now holds you accountable for safeguarding your patients' private information, like date of birth, medical record number, or Social Security number, by demanding adherence to rules and a long list of audit checkpoints.

What simple measures can you take right now to prevent security breaches without interfering with your workflows?

Make sure your company begins by implementing the following suggestions:

1. Improve authentication method

Adopt controlled access security measures that, depending on who is using them, can lock down your printers and restrict access to particular functionalities.

These security measures also regulate how and where documents and photos are kept in a secure location. Increase the security of your passwords as well.

2. Encrypt your data.

Ensure that only authorized users and intended recipients can access data. Encryption safeguards the security of documents, photos, messages, and other personal health information and is applicable to both stored and transmitted data.

The HIPAA Security Rule's definition of technical safeguards, which regulates access to electronic protected health information, includes the following requirements:

Unique user identification

Emergency access procedure

Automatic log-off

Encryption and decryption

3. Preserve private information

To automatically overwrite latent digital images, use data overwrite security.

The ability to retrieve such data in the future from the originating device is also eliminated, making file reconstruction nearly hard.

4. Establish an audit trail.

Observe who accesses your data and who uses your devices. This will assist you in creating and keeping the data audit trail that the HIPAA Final Omnibus Rule requires.

To protect patients' private health information, the HIPAA Security Rule also regulates administrative measures.

5. Dispose of outdated devices properly

Identify outdated technology that is unable to protect your data any longer. Your organization eliminates any unneeded additional chance of data risk by safely removing these systems.

6. Install physical safety measures

To ensure that the appropriate individuals have access to the appropriate places, safeguard the hardware used to transmit and transfer information.

This includes facility access controls, workstation use and security, and device and media controls.

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