How Can You Protect Patient Data From Thieves?

Patient Studio
October 16, 2019

It’s important for a healthcare company to be efficient with their data retrieval and records. This can help streamline a patient’s visit to a facility and make it less stressful. It can also help with better medical treatment and diagnosis. If you’re on the business end of a medical facility, then you probably know all about patient confidentiality. You can’t talk about personal information regarding a patient. You also want to make sure that there isn’t any kind of data theft that occurs. There are people who are looking to access this kind of sensitive data. Let’s talk about how you can protect patient data from thieves that want to get their hands on it.

Tighten Policies and Procedures

The overwhelming majority of data security issues occur because of human error, not technology failure. Patient charts and information left on the scanner is riskier in many ways than any digital transfer of PHI. HIPAA has laid out the “administrative requirements” under the privacy rule.

These requirements include the following:

  • A privacy official must be appointed who is responsible for developing and implementing policies and procedures at a covered entity.
  • Employees, including volunteers and trainees, must be trained on policies and procedures.
  • Appropriate administrative, technical and physical safeguards must be maintained to protect the privacy of PHI in a covered entity.
  • A process for individuals to make complaints concerning policies and procedures must be in place at a covered entity.
  • If PHI is disclosed in violation of its policies and procedures, a covered entity must mitigate, to the furthest extent actionable, any harmful effects.

Upgrade Your Digital Security

Technology is a big part of any office these days. You’ll want to make sure that you’re using a very secure system for data records and retrieval. Make sure all computers are locked when the medical staff is away from their portal. Make sure that you are using HIPAA compliant methods for keeping Patient Health Information (PHI) safe. If your system has not seen an upgrade in many years, now might be the time to start budgeting for an overhaul that will increase security overall.

Protect Your Mail

While technology is a big deal in the medical world right now, there will inevitably be a need for medical records to be mailed to go out to patients. This is very risky, but you can protect your safety and patient data by making sure the process of sending this information out is secure. According to Postal Methods, medical records and legal information need the best security features. One of the biggest security risks is when the information has been delivered, but not received. In this instance, it might be a good idea to let a patient know they should give you a call because there is an important matter to discuss. You don’t have to talk in-depth about the situation or information right in the letter. This will prevent identity theft.

Think About How Computer Data Is Destroyed

It is required that a medical office retains its data for a certain amount of time. After that amount of time has passed, the data can be destroyed. There may also be a situation where an office has upgraded all its medical PCs. You can’t just throw these systems away in a garbage can. According to RUSecure, everything should be wiped clean before the computer itself can be discarded.

There are many different software companies and support agencies that can assist with increasing the overall data security at your place of employment. This is an important item to budget for. It will help you build a better reputation, and you can protect patient data much simpler with the right tools.

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