Importance of Data Security in Healthcare Organizations

The healthcare industry is always adopting new kinds of technology each day. This fast-paced industry relies on information technology to help, not just the patients but administrations as well. The most important aspect of hospital information is the EHR or the Electronic Health Record which stores volumes of confidential patient information. On top of that, the staff itself uses a myriad of applications that help monitor the performance of a specific facility, these include wireless and mobile technologies. Here is a closer look at the importance of data security in healthcare organizations.

Complying with the Legal Mandate

HIPAA or the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, enacted in 2013 came with a prioritizing urgency of care that prevents disclosure of Protected Health Information. HIPAA has since added physical and technological safeguards. It successfully created the standard for what secure communication in the healthcare industry looks like.

There are comprehensive rules according to HIPAA which dictate what is to be done with data left on servers of internet service providers, theft of devices which can potentially access PHI, and a whole range of scenarios which address the possible vulnerabilities of the communication structure.

Security for the Evolution of Businesses

As the ‘bring your own devices’ policies has begun to proliferate, HIPAA has been successfully amended. In eh medical community it is estimated that four fifth of all professionals use their personal devices to manage their work. Many of these professionals make use of email and text messages to record health related information and doctor and patient conversations.

The problem with this method is that when you once send a message you have zero control over it afterwards, it may have entered a non-secure network which may put your network at jeopardy.

Moreover, a lot of wireless devices do not have the proper security mechanisms that allows one to leave sensitive data with complete peace of mind. Fortunately a plethora of tools have been developed to counter this gap, but they are not as extensively used as they should be. One such tool is the Spoke texting tool which is HIPAA compliant.

Using Practical Solutions

There are still a number of organizations that work with the ‘bring your own device’ policy at work. This means devices you are not regulating have daily access to your records. Organizations typically tolerate this for various reasons, even though the high risk of data leaks involved. This has brought about the crucial implementation of systems that meet the requirements of HIPAA.

There is, however, a strategy that limits the copying of data, because the fewer copies you have, the less data you need to protect and manage. Management systems must be synchronized, this helps ensure that everyone is on the same process, and updated. On top of that, management structures must have authentication built into them so as not to allow access to just anyone. In fact, some modern technologies and authentication systems allow for organizations to be able to track who accesses files and at what time. In the case of a data breach, tracking logs and audit reports would be the first things to check.

There are certain situations where HIPAA mandates that you implement specific safeguards. Not only are these effective but are simple ways to ensure security for a healthcare facility. These include measures such as automatically encrypting your SMS service so that even if there is a breach, it cannot be ciphered by criminals.

The Consequences

One of the biggest consequence are the huge amount of fines the healthcare industry has to put up with.

The healthcare industry is very competitive and exposure of data can also fall in the hands of competitors who use this data to ruin the facility’s reputation.

On top of this, healthcare organizations have built a trust between their professionals and patients. If private information is hacked, they lose the trust of their consumers. This ruins the organization’s image and ability to promise the same security and reliability in the future. Part of keeping patients happy is to ensure that their data is safe with you.

The proper services of healthcare includes offering clear, timely and accurate communication between patients. The challenge for healthcare organizations is to protect all data from privacy breaches and protect the trust of their patients. Even though these days we find that extensive digitization of information improved its services and makes processes efficient and fast, there are risks associated with it.

Healthcare data is super sensitive. It is crucial for healthcare providers to have reliable and robust measures in place. These are strategies that not only protect data in the healthcare industry but also help organizations successfully predict and prevent assaults that are executed through cyber-crime.

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