5 Ways to Improve Your Healthcare Data Security

Drew Laroche

In 2017 so far, there have been 79 healthcare data security breaches, each affecting at least 500 patients. That’s about five breaches per week. And the year isn’t over yet.

At this rate, everyone in the U.S. will have their security compromised at least once by 2024.

These are scary statistics. With the growth and continued implementation of technology in our systems, the importance of health record security looms larger than ever. Health records are becoming a bigger and bigger target for hackers.

Make sure you’re protecting your patients and their data as best you can with these five ways to improve your healthcare data security.

Assess Risk Regularly

Perform regular risk assessments to determine your system’s vulnerabilities. Detecting weak links in your healthcare data security system will allow you to fix the problem before it starts.

It’s required once a year to meet the requirements of Medicare’s Merit-Based Incentive Payment System (or MIPS), and the Meaningful Use EHR incentive program. It’s also required according to the HIPAA security rule.

It’s a good idea to perform these risk assessments more than once annually, however. Consider doing them quarterly, or even monthly, for maximum security.

Encrypt, Encrypt, Encrypt

Data at rest should be encrypted on all devices. This includes laptops, cell phones, tablets, USB drives, and even desktop computers.

A recent report done by tech company Redspin recommended that this become a mandatory HIPAA requirement on portable devices. Fines for data being extracted from stolen, unencrypted devices can cost millions of dollars.

The best method? Two-factor authentication. Pair a strong password with another method of identification, such as mobile authentication or fingerprint scanning.

Control Access

Control access to confidential health record data. Making sure only essential personnel have access to sensitive data minimizes the risk of theft.

Only give the password to access patient data to these employees. Whenever possible, engage your essential personnel in your two-factor authentication. Use retina scanning or engage a mobile authentication system for employees with access to records and log them in your security system.

Some security systems will even allow you to create individual logins and passwords for each employee you wish to have access to sensitive data. Diversifying access keys like this makes it harder for hackers to crack your code.

Monitor Personal Devices

Limit employee use of personal portable devices. If a photo is snapped of a patient’s healthcare records, you can and will still be held responsible for that breach.

If your healthcare organization employs a BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) system, take measure to make sure all devices are thoroughly encrypted, lest they are lost or stolen with sensitive data.

Implement Role Based Access

Set up role-based access to patient healthcare data. Many systems will allow levels of access for different employees. Each employee has a key or login that will allow them to access only the part of the program that’s needed, and it’s limited associated data.

Healthcare Data Security: Are You Protected?

Get in touch to talk about what security measures you’re lacking as a healthcare provider. We provide HIPAA compliant managed IT services nationwide and can help protect you and your patients from data theft.

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