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Is your Medical Documentation Safe from Data Breaches?

November 26, 2013

Data breaches in healthcare industry have become more common in recent times. Breaches of electronic data have grown in frequency within many small and large organizations. Many of these breaches happen due to lost thumb drives, lost or stolen laptops, or as a result of compromised data servers. The healthcare sector is one of the most vulnerable industries to data breaches and this mainly occurs due to hacking and cyber-attacks. These breaches affect the healthcare industry and can hamper the practice if not taken care of.

As per the latest healthcare industry reports, data breaches have increased exuberantly over the past few years.

Industry Fact States

Around 94% of healthcare organizations have had at least one data breach in the past two years
On an average, around 27,000 individuals are affected by a single data security breach
About 66,000 individuals are affected by a single breach of portable media

Security breaches can cost a healthcare organization an average of $2.4M over 2 years. Hence it is important to secure your practice from data breaches to prevent recurring losses.

Ensuring proper electronic medical record keeping in line with confidentiality and security laws is highly critical, as violating these laws may trigger required notification of patients and regulatory fines.

Few basic tips to ensure safety from data breaching:

  • Close curtains and speak softly when discussing treatments in semi-private rooms
  • Protect all computer systems used for official purpose with secure logouts and passwords
  • Secure laptops and remote devices with password protection
  • Dispose of patient information in accordance with hospital policy and procedure
  • Ensure that all official systems are protected while transportation
  • Back up and secure computer systems and servers
  • Avoid traditional unencrypted e-mail services,which are not compliant with HIPAA
  • Use encryption technology to prevent unauthorized third-party access to patient records/financial information
  • Use extra caution while accessing electronic records from public computer used by others
  • Develop a data recovery and/or disaster plan

Some important points to remember:

Replace paper records with electronic ones

Paper records are at much more risk than computers. Hence it is necessary to replace all paper documentation and develop a proper system for documenting computerized records..

Share PHI (Patient Health Information) only when necessary

Share only the minimum amount of PHI necessary to fulfil the job responsibility, and that too with those who possess a clinical/business need to know.

MBC helps physicians cope against data breaches:

Secured Data Protection – MBC uses recent and updated software for its medical billing and coding requirements providing greater mobility and accessibility to information, with minimal security risks
Data Confidentiality– MBC guarantees utmost data confidentiality to its clients in case of any data they may use for billing procedures
Patient Rights and Advocacy – MBC protects all the information about your patient's health and care in accordance with the guidelines provided by the body of federal regulations referred to as HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act)

MBC is the largest consortium of billers and coders providing medical billing across all 50 US States in varied specialties. Medicalbillersandcoders.com has been successfully helping clients manage medical billing with minimal threat of data breaching. MBC is vigilant in anticipating the growing risks for breaches of patient data and financial records, and helps protect physicians against regulatory and liability claims arising from the theft, loss, or accidental transmission of confidential patient/financial information, and the cost of data recovery. Our team constantly works to identify opportunities to help improve accuracy, compliance and productivity in the health care system.

MBC = Cost reduction + Data Confidentiality + Increased Revenue

Category : Practice Administration