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How to Keep Patient Records Safe as More Processes Go Online


Just about everyone in the healthcare industry is aware of the importance of keeping patient records private. After all, HIPAA is 21 years old. But all too often, people whose job it is to be helpful and friendly, let down their guard. It’s not just clinical staff; this also applies to IT personnel, administrators, and even volunteers who are just trying to do the right thing.

According to a 2015 study, a single electronic health record (EHR) is worth $363 on the black market. Data from a single surgery can be priced at upwards of $100,000. And network access to the average hospital could potentially be valued at $10 million to $12 million. Not to mention the incalculable cost to your business’s reputation and image in the community.

Prevention is the Best Medicine

Here are some guidelines to follow as you work to keep your patients’ medical records safe:

Optimize Your Policies and Procedures

Clear written procedures give you a reference for training and provide everyone in your organization clear-cut guidance for handling patient data. A robust policy document is also essential for HIPAA compliance.

Keep Your IT Resources Current

Outdated software, legacy systems, and network devices carry inherent security risks. Hackers focus a lot of attention on exploiting security loopholes, and they depend on their victims being slow to update their processes. Budget for and provide the staff and resources needed to make all relevant security patches as the needs arise.

Educate Your Team

Regular online training is a good start, but it’s critical to talk to people face-to-face, so they realize that the security of patient records starts with them. You simply cannot assume that everyone who needs to know, will find out online. Simple daily tasks such as protecting log-in details and not leaving patient names or other data up on screens can lead to serious data breaches.

Universally Encrypt Laptop Hard Drives

Mobile devices are at a particular risk and with users bringing their own smartphones and tablets to work, the issue is becoming increasingly complex.

Be Sure Your Network Traffic is Constantly Monitored

The average healthcare organization attempts to sift through 10GB and 200GB of log files every day. Whether you have Security Incident Event Management tools, staff time and talent in-house or need to outsource this work, your network and server data logs need to be continually monitored for anomalies.

Have a Cyber Incident Response Plan.

Evaluate your incident response program to ensure that it is responsive to any new threats that your organization may face. Be sure your IT department internal response plan is linked with the overall plan for your organization, including coordination with marketing, public relations and external resources.

Cyber security can be overwhelming in light of all you have to do to keep your organization running smoothly. For additional resources to develop or update your plan for medical records safety, turn to the expert team at MedicalPros Recruiting + Staffing. Healthcare is our only business – and we’re all about the health of your business, as well. Contact us today so we can tell you more.

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