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Do you know where your healthcare data is?

by Michael Campana
“It’s 10 p.m. Do you know where your children are?”

Many parents still remember when that question was asked just before the local news as a reminder to make sure their kids were safe and off the streets. Those days are long gone, but CIOs of healthcare systems are now asking a similar question of their health system’s privacy and security measures:

“It’s 2017. Do we know where our healthcare data is?”

Chances are, you can relate. Recent healthcare system data breaches, such as the one at Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield, point to the importance of making healthcare privacy and security a top priority at every step along the patient care continuum.

And if you can’t answer that question with confidence, it might be time to assess your organization’s privacy and security measures. Here are some actionable strategies you can use now to help your organization improve security measures with respect to patient data: 

Confirm that all data is accurately digitized and stored according to tight security standards.

1. Confirm adherence to tight security standards.

Data is captured as soon as a patient schedules an appointment and continues through the patient’s visit or hospital stay, including all necessary follow-up visits, billing and payment processing. Every step along the way provides an opportunity for both structured and unstructured data to be mishandled, lost or jeopardized. Therefore, it helps to confirm that all data is accurately digitized and stored according to tight security standards.

2. Institute training programs.

Unprotected workstations, staff discussing patient cases in the open and other situations can pose significant risks to data security. To reduce these risks, it can help to implement a program to train everyone — from the CEO to the janitorial staff — in HIPAA compliance and the penalties for noncompliance.

3. Standardize data-sharing protocols.

Privacy and security risks increase significantly as data changes hands, both within and among individual organizations. It helps to prepare your own facility’s data sharing systems to adhere to HL7 exchange requirements to safeguard patient information, regardless of whether other networks or healthcare systems have similar policies in place. 
The days when providers could capture, access and share patient data without fear of cyber attacks are gone. Tightening data management measures so that information can be safely captured, accessed and shared can protect your organization as a whole, including your patients.

So ask yourself: Do you know where your healthcare data is? 

Don't leave your data security to chance 

Our solutions for healthcare security and governance can help protect your patient information. 
Michael Campana
Michael Campana joined Ricoh in 2012 as Senior Manager of Healthcare Marketing. He brings 27 years of experience to the role to lead the market positioning and strategy for Ricoh’s healthcare industry vertical in the Americas. Campana began his career in the healthcare industry upon graduating from the University of South Florida. He has worked for a number of healthcare organizations, including most recently Siemens Medical Solutions Health Services.