The latest on data security: what your practice needs to know
The data tells the story: The healthcare industry has become a major target. Security breaches have risen nearly every year over the last decade. When data is compromised, patients leave, and in certain cases, the government assesses fines.
“The best thing so far that I've found with Greenway is the security and the level of access that employees have that can be managed by administration, like who can access what data that's needed,” said Sirena Martin, billing collection coordinator with North Texas Kidney Disease Associates.
You want to secure your facilities and the vast quantities of patient data you handle. Here are some tips you can implement to protect patient health information.
Risk assessment in healthcare
Protecting your practice from threats and ensuring compliance with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) begins with a security risk assessment.
The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) and HHS Office for Civil Rights (OCR) have offered a HIPAA security risk assessment tool available here. This helps practices comply with HIPAA’s administrative, physical, and technical safeguards.
To manage administrative risk, appoint someone to take responsibility for security at your practice and provide your employees with security awareness training, as well as policies and procedures in writing. Assign usernames and passwords to ensure employees’ access to data corresponds with their role.
Remember – technology and threats evolve. Risk assessment to ensure HIPAA compliance and protection from threats should be an ongoing practice
Your physical facility is vulnerable to inclement weather and natural disasters. Create a disaster plan to establish protocol in case your system goes down. Review and practice these processes with staff throughout the year, and make sure to back up your data.
“The industry standard has been to do a full backup weekly and then do incremental backups daily,” said Larry Whiteside, chief information security officer for Greenway Health, in a podcast interview. “That saves time, resources, and money.”
Many practices have found greater security in the cloud. Designed to withstand natural disasters, cloud hosting environments may offer power feeds and independent cooling. Software patching, virus detection, and incident detection and response are additional benefits of the cloud.
Greenway has created an e-book with best practices for safeguarding patient privacy. Click here to download the free e-book today.
For more information, CLICK HERE to schedule a conversation with a Greenway representative. Or watch our 3-minute overview video HERE.