Confidentiality is a pillar of the healthcare industry. The patients share their private information with physicians hence when deciding how to secure data in the digital age, clinicians must apply professional judgment and follow policies set forth by regulators.
Electronic communication of patient information can facilitate clinical care, while mobile technologies and cloud computing boost productivity. However, these technological innovations introduce new concerns of securing the data of patients. Although the responsibility to keep patient information confidential may be rooted in professional ethics and governmental bodies regulate confidentiality and medical privacy.
Electronic medical records (EMRs) are a digital version of the paper charts in the clinician’s office that contains the medical and treatment history of the patients in one practice. EMRs can easily be stored behind firewalls with password-protected access.
All logins are tracked including audit trails changed, deleted info. The capabilities of EMR systems are not the core issue, as they can be used in a very secure way. Not all these systems are used properly, which is primarily where the exposure comes into play.
HIPPA Compliance for data security
In the US, the Health Insurance Protection and Portability Act (HIPAA) compliance stipulates stringent rules for data security. These compliances stipulate that all entities involved with protected health information are subject to HIPAA compliance and must assume liability for breaches of protected health information.
HIPPA compliance gets updated periodically hence physicians must review business practices and agreements with vendors with every new change making sure that these business partners are safeguarding data appropriately and are compliant with applicable compliance.
According to a research study, the global cost of data breaches is rising to $6 trillion annually, and health care professionals can’t afford to be indifferent about cybersecurity as they are the new target for hackers. Hence, it’s time for medical professionals to take a stand against data breaches by utilizing tried-and-true strategies.
Here are various tips to secure data in the digital age by avoiding data breaches effectively:
Check Audit logs periodically
You should check audit reports periodically for any anomalies and look for suspicious activities like users who are accessing more records than normal or have experienced too many failed login attempts that can raise red flags.
Choose Complex Passwords
Every physician must use complex passwords to keep the system and data security. A complex password can be made of at least 8 characters long with a series of numbers, characters, and symbols. Changing your passwords annually can ensure the security of the system throughout employee turnover.
Elect a system administrator
Every organization should have a System Administrator, who has the responsibility to ensure the best possible security measures are taken concerning the set-up, audit, backup, configuration, and user training.
Ensure all staff sign an agreement
You should force all working staff to sign an Information Managers agreement that outlines every user’s responsibility to only access the data they need to perform their obligations. It’s important to communicate that actions will be tracked through audit logs and reviewed regularly.
Partner with a trusted medical billing company
Experienced medical billing, coding, and documentation professionals like us can help you to avoid data breaches in the medical field. You can get in touch with us and rest assured. As you know the healthcare industry in the US is very dynamic and you constantly must adapt and change your practices to better accommodate your patients.
Finally, digitization indicates an important change for patients and enables patients to take a more active, participatory role in their health care and wellness decision-making. Digitized consumers are more engaged and can more effectively take part in their health destiny however physicians need to secure data in the digital age for trust-building.