It is no secret that the healthcare industry is changing and that the tools are becoming more efficient when it comes to coordinating better care for patients. Along with these changes, the medical industry are lowering medical costs, making ACLS renewal available, and improving medical techniques. They are now working on better ways to improve how secure their medical history records are from potential threats.
As the patient gives their information to the receptionist, they want to be reassured that their medical records are protected from getting stolen or leaked by cyber attackers. Some methods that can help secure electronic health records are to hold an annual HIPAA Security Risk Analysis test, inoculate by encrypting data-at-rest, conduct frequent vulnerability assessments and penetration test, invest in security awareness, and engage with business associates.
Annual HIPAA Security Risk Analysis Test
Periodic risk analysis is a requirement of the HIPAA Security Rule so it is wise to plan for it in advance by making sure it fits into your business’s budget. With all the year-to-year changes such as new system deployments, IT infrastructure enhancements, organizational restructuring, and employee turnover, it is almost certain that new vulnerabilities and new risks will arise. A HIPAA security risk analysis does not need to be technical. It is possible to assess security risk without identifying real vulnerabilities and developing a plan to solve the newfound risks.
Inoculate By Encrypting Data-At-Rest
For the past ten years, the loss or theft of unencrypted portable devices have made up of over a third of all breach incidents. Employees often resist encrypting their devices but if they are willing to make this effort, they can resist the risk of a major breach incident. For a medical office to encrypt their data and information, they are assuring that even if their is a security breach, it is less likely that the hackers will get any specifics off the personal medical history records.
Conduct Frequent Vulnerability Assessments and Penetration Tests
The threat of hackers has the potential to cause havoc, especially on the healthcare industry. Although there hasn’t been a widespread of occurrences, there shouldn’t be room for complacency. Hacker attacks are likely to increase over the next few years. Personal health records are a high value target because of the fact that they can be exploited for identify theft, insurance fraud, stolen prescriptions, and dangerous hoaxes. To resist this threat, it is wise to assess ongoing vulnerability scanning and remediation. Implement a monthly or quarterly test schedule to compare results and see what has been fixed, what has not, and any new risks that may have risen.
Invest in Security Awareness
The lack of security awareness among hospital employees is the hospital’s overall biggest risk and the hardest of remediation. Every dollar spent to educate employees on IT security is an investment that best leads to success. Engaging employees in creating a secure environment can be done through a process of frequent security awareness training, internal training, situation training, daily reminders and visual workplace cues. Track what employees do in specific situations and integrate findings and results back into the training.
Engage With Business Associates
The responsibility of security has began to extend outside the organization or the hospital. In compliance with HIPAA security provisions and direct civil liability for breach has extended the responsibility to business associates and their vendors. With that knowledge, covered entities still retain their obligation to ensure that its business associates are safeguarding their assets successfully.
Electronic health records is becoming more and more common in the medical industry. With this big advancement, hackers are becoming harder and harder to avoid. Other ways hospitals can ensure the safety of their patient’s medical history records are enhancing administrative controls, monitor physical and system access, identify workstation usage, audit and monitor system users, employ device and media controls and apply data encryption.
Electronic medical health records specialists provide remote storage and data backup systems to aid in securing patient’s medical history information. Although this may not present as strong of a defense against hackers and data breaches as data encryption, it can provide security for healthcare organizations against the potential of software failures or natural disasters that could destroy or damage records.