Top 5 Strategies For Stronger Health Information Security
We always wish to keep our records or personal or some professional information private. Privacy is the topmost preference of anyone then and now. There are laws to protect individual privacies. This becomes very specific and important when it comes to the healthcare industry. Imagine a world, where anyone could access your personal or medical/health information, your location, your treatment details, etc, that would be a world full of chaos and breaches.
No one would prefer that. Even if it is simple information related to a medical condition of a person, it could be misused.
Health information security is an iterative process driven by enhancements in technology as well as changes to the health care environment.
As you adopt new health IT to enhance the quality and efficiency of care in your practice, it is also equally important to reassess your health information security policies. Identifying risks and protecting electronic health information can be challenging.
For this from happening, HIPAA has given a set of security rules to be followed mandatorily.
According to HIPAA, “The Security Rule applies to health plans, health care clearinghouses, and to any health care provider who transmits health information in electronic form in connection with a transaction for which the Secretary of HHS has adopted standards under HIPAA (the “covered entities”) and to their business associates.
Healthcare Industry: Having High Risks Of Data Attacks
Data theft is not only limited to the healthcare industry, it also frightens other sectors. So amongst them, why the healthcare industry is the most open to risks of data theft?
The type of data collected and stored is one of the main reasons, the healthcare industry is at a higher risk when compared to other industries.
Healthcare organizations can have very detailed records of patients that include their name, date of birth, address, social security number, payment account information, and so on.
It increases the possibility of data attacks since healthcare organizations collect such data.
One of the reasons for which organizations need to use adequate data security solutions is, that healthcare data prefer to go for a higher amount on the black markets than other types of stolen data.
Maintaining Healthcare Information Security: Why It Is A Must?
According to a report which was released on January 2021, “ In 2020, the number of data breaches in the United States came in at a total of 1001 cases. Meanwhile, over the same year, over 155.8 million individuals were affected by data exposures — that is, the accidental revelation of sensitive information due to less-than-adequate information security.”
If you think you can avoid this by changing your vendor who provides you with Electronic Health Records (EHR) or Electronic Medical Records (EMR) alone, no dear friend. It is not that simple and logical.
Changing your vendor alone does not give your system the required protection, because health information technology still demands several manual processes.
To keep down the level of risk to their private data, companies are on a persistent lookout for different security systems. It becomes very necessary for them to protect their data better.
This is not only for the safety of their clients, but their employees as well.
The large value of patient data available makes them targets for hackers.
So, How To Protect Health Data?: The Top 6 Strategies
To maintain health care information security and prevent health data breaches, organizations have to follow certain rules and strategies strictly.
We give you the 5 most important strategies to follow to avoid such situations to an extent.
1. Educating and training staffs
Employees are still struggling to get used to healthcare information technology. To cope with the digitization of patient records, policies and procedures need to be changed to ensure health care data security. And this alone can’t avoid the whole threat.
Simple human error or negligence can result in disastrous and expensive consequences for healthcare organizations. The knowledge to recognize threats and risks can be provided to the employees by better awareness training.
This helps them to make smarter decisions at such times.
2. Data back-up
Sensitive patient information could be exposed by Cyberattacks. They can also compromise data integrity or availability.
Lack of attention from an employee who is handling these data and even a natural disaster striking the healthcare organization’s data center can impact those pieces of information if they do not have a backup plan, for example, storing it in an offsite location.
To eliminate this to an extent, frequent data backups are recommended. Offsite data backups are an essential component of disaster recovery.
3. Restriction in access of data and applications
In most cases the data breach incidents involve insiders. This rate is higher in the healthcare industry than in others according to some studies.
Implementing healthcare data protection by restricting access to patient information and certain applications to only those users who require access to perform their jobs can reduce the risks.
Strict rules like the availability of certain patient information should be restricted only to the physician, only within a period when it is necessary, and not whenever they choose.
Multi-factor authentication is a recommended approach, requiring users to validate that they are the person authorized to access certain data and applications.
4. Secure wireless networks and mobile devices
More wireless connections make you more vulnerable. If your practice offers free Wi-Fi for patients and a messaging system, your data, is in turn, more vulnerable.
But it’s not necessary or even possible to get rid of both the above-mentioned systems. Most people prefer free wifi places. So, that’s not a solution.
Creating automated procedures that update devices and users may help in these cases. Even the passwords can also be changed by an automated service to ensure even more security.
So no one can hack or use these networks without consent.
Enabling the ability to remotely wipe and lock lost or stolen devices, encrypting application data, educating users on mobile device security best practices, requiring users to keep their devices updated with the latest operating system and application updates, are some of the ways to reduce hacking or breaching.
5. Threat recognition and assessment
Conducting regular threat assessments can help to some extent. Like an audit trail that helps to identify the cause and other valuable details of an incident, proactive prevention is a must.
These regular assessments weak points in a healthcare organization’s security, shortcomings in employee education, inadequacies in the security posture of vendors and business associates, and other areas of concern.
Information is crucial. Simple data can change everything, whether it’s small or large, irrespective of its size. That too in the healthcare industry, data is everything.
It is the base for every healthcare organization.
They needed to be protected well. Many government-authorized platforms provide all the services, securities, and products that you need to run your healthcare business protectively.
Visit Vozo to put a full stop to your confusion and doubts regarding where you can get hold of one of those products/services, which could protect your organization by all means. Contact us now.
“Let’s make your products more protected and safer, together”