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Healthcare data security just got even more critical

by Kash Hatton
Data breaches are becoming more and more common. Are you protecting your healthcare organization?

It’s never fun to hear about cyberattacks or data breaches – especially when they directly impact you or your organization.

One recent example is the cyberattack on Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center. A still-as-yet-unknown hacker used malware to seize control of Hollywood Presbyterian’s computer system, preventing access to data and communication devices until the hospital paid a $17,000 ransom in bitcoin.1 Officials said neither patient care nor hospital records were compromised in the incident.

News of the breach stunned industry insiders, not just because it echoes the huge Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield breach of nearly two years ago that resulted in the theft of some 80 million patient records, but also because Hollywood Presbyterian was forced to pay a large fee to regain access to its data and systems.

With more and more breaches happening, now is a good time to reevaluate the privacy and security measures at your healthcare organization. While these events often cause alarm, they can also be good reminders to take action in proactively helping increase the privacy and security of healthcare data at your organization.

Here are a few steps to get you started:

1. Lock down workstations, printers and multifunction devices,
to prevent unauthorized access to patient health information (PHI)

2. Leverage up-to-date encryption and decryption capabilities for transmission and storage of PHI

3. Conduct thorough and comprehensive annual risk assessments, including the performance of actual hacking attempts based on real-life scenarios, of data management systems and processes

4. Regularly train and update all staff on HIPAA requirements

5. Partner with vendors whose patient data management processes meet HIPAA guidelines 

Don’t get caught off guard — now’s the time to make PHI security a priority. 

White paper: Safeguard your hospital: 6 proactive best practices to improve healthcare data security. 
Kash Hatton
Kash Hatton, Senior Manager of Design, Ricoh USA, Inc., brings more than 20 years of IT experience to his role in managing healthcare-specific resources for customers across the US. Before coming to Ricoh, Hatton held a variety of IT leadership positions and was responsible for the design and development of content management systems for use in the healthcare, automotive, banking and finance industries. 
1 Fox-Brewster, Thomas. "As Ransomware Crisis Explodes, Hollywood Hospital Coughs Up $17,000 In Bitcoin." Online posting. 18 February 2016