9 December, 2022

5 Ways Healthcare Providers Can Protect Their Patient Information

It is becoming common in the medical business to employ technology to improve patient care. It is imperative to improve patient information security in light of the rising usage of software systems and the increased value of healthcare data. Security has long been a significant problem in healthcare information technology, but recent advancements have made it much more difficult for cybercriminals to get their hands on important information. Continue reading to learn more about how healthcare professionals may safeguard the information they collect about their patients.

Conducting a Security Risk Assessment

After an incident, an audit trail may assist in determining the cause and other critical facts; however, proactive prevention is just as vital. A healthcare institution’s security may be strengthened through frequent risk assessments, which can reveal weak spots in staff training, weaknesses in the security posture of suppliers and business partners, and other issues. Healthcare professionals and their business companions may better prevent expensive data breaches and the many other harmful repercussions of a data breach, from reputational damage to sanctions from regulatory bodies, by conducting risk assessments regularly and thoroughly.

Restricting Access to Data and Applications

By limiting access to patient information and particular apps to just those users who are required to have it to do their tasks, implementing access controls strengthens the security of patient data in the healthcare industry. The authentication of users is required for access limitations, which helps authenticate the users who may view protected data. It is recommended that you use multi-factor authentication, which requires users to verify that they are the individual authority to access specific data and systems by utilizing two or more verification methods like a password or PIN, a card or key, biometrics, etc.

Training Employees to Recognize Potential Attacks

The use of information technology in health care is still in its early stages; therefore, personnel are still getting acclimated to using it. Policies and procedures will need to be revised to maintain the confidentiality of patient information throughout the digitalization of medical records. However, creating new regulations won’t get you far without the appropriate training. Your staff may be better able to spot possible security dangers and make more informed decisions if you provide them with security awareness training. When dealing with patient data, this training can help encourage users to exercise the necessary level of caution. It is essential to provide training on up-to-date data security protocols to all your staff, both new and current.

Working on HIPAA Compliance

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) requires all parties involved in the care of patients, including healthcare professionals and anyone else who has access to patient data, to maintain an adequate level of confidentiality at all times. If relevant companies aren’t assuring compliance, they’ll be subject to significant penalties. It gives many laws and regulations covering a wide range of topics and elements. Nevertheless, working on HIPAA compliance solely to avoid penalties will not be helpful. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) includes various instructions on safeguarding patient data when it is both at rest and being transmitted. If these principles are used as a starting point, not only will HIPAA compliance be assured, but also the protection of patient information will be guaranteed, which will reduce the likelihood of data breaches occurring. Tools can also help with compliance, including HIPAA-compliant hosting software.

Backing up Data to a Secure and Offsite Location

Cyberattacks can potentially threaten the integrity or availability of critical patient information. Data that has not been adequately backed up might be destroyed even in the event of a natural disaster affecting the data center of a healthcare company. As a result, regular offsite data backups are advised.

Conclusion

Having a strategy for protecting patients’ electronic health information is essential for all healthcare organizations. It’s much more difficult for smaller medical practices, many of which lack the resources of larger health systems and hospitals. As a patient, you want peace of mind in knowing that any information you submit to your healthcare professionals will be kept safe and confidential. A broad understanding of the security methods employed to protect their data may be beneficial when sharing that information with them.

Debora Franks

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