When you lock up your doors each day, you might turn off the lights, turn down the thermostat, and activate the security system. When a patient comes in, you may take vitals, talk about their concerns, and send them off with a script. Overall, you have control over these tasks – but what about the unknown? If a hacker gets in to your electronic medical records, or malware slinks through your email – then what?
According the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 124 cases of hacking or IT incidents resulting in medical data breaches are currently under investigation. While this appears low, these don’t include various other types of breaches occurring from theft, paper or film, and even improper disposal of records. According to Modern Healthcare
, healthcare data breaches are on the rise each passing year. From hackers tapping in to private practice servers, hospital systems losing patient records, and even insurance companies mishandling patient information, vulnerabilities are at every turn.
So you’re saying there’s a chance? The latest report from the Identity Theft and Resource Center identifies 28.3% of breaches targeting the medical and healthcare field. The biggest source of breaches come from human error with email being the prime offender. Emails containing malware or ransomware can compromise your servers, oftentimes going undetected until it’s too late. With all these outside threats knocking, don’t open the door and let them in. Here’s a few ways to avoid a HIPAA breach notification:
- Perform a risk analysis and continually perform security protections
- Limit access to sensitive data for appropriate users and their roles
- Train your workforce and provide continuing education on HIPAA violations
- Secure your facility and workstations, and practice proper disposal of patient records
- Deploy security controls in accordance with HIPAA standards for both hardware and software. Safeguarding the transmission of patient data is critical to mitigating a violation.
When it comes to a healthcare data breach, information is power. Having clear knowledge of your obligations as a practitioner in accordance with HIPAA is the most effective way to avoid a breach. Your staff must be in compliance as well, so make sure they’re in on the latest procedures too. Getting a HIPAA data breach alert produces a healthy dose of fear – stay ahead of the game with these recommendations.
While it’s important to take steps to prevent medical data breaches, you should also consider purchasing cyber liability insurance
, which can help cover the costs that may arise from a breach such as recovering data and restoring systems as well as legal fees. AmVenture works with small businesses in the healthcare field to provide affordable insurance for doctors
and other medical professionals.
The opinions expressed here by AmVenture.com columnists are their own, not those of AmVenture.com.