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Improve security and compliance by cutting through the clutter

by ​Ashish Patel
 
In today’s cluttered healthcare environment, it can seem almost impossible to avoid healthcare acronyms and buzzwords like “PHI,” “ransomware” and “cloud security.”

In fact, entire days – if not weeks – have been spent in meeting rooms trying to determine what these terms really mean and how to plan for ongoing security and compliance needs.

"Looking beyond the minutia can help you maintain a clear view of how to successfully achieve security and compliance in the new world of care."

Other often confused terms include “information security,” “cybersecurity” and “information governance.” While all three of these revolve around maintaining the integrity and privacy of information, they are all unique and important to an organization’s security and compliance. For example, “information security” is broader than “cybersecurity” as it pertains to overarching data security while “cybersecurity” focuses on protecting electronic data. On the other hand, “information governance” refers to policies, procedures and processes that are implemented to manage information at the enterprise level.

But don’t let constantly changing jargon and regulations distract you from seeing the big picture. Looking beyond the minutia can help you maintain a clear view of how to successfully achieve security and compliance in the new world of care.

Here are a few questions to ask yourself to help you stay on track regardless of the latest terminology:
 

Is my organization approaching security and compliance proactively?

  • In the new world of care, healthcare leaders can’t simply sit back and wait for a healthcare breach to occur. Instead, they must identify ways to be proactive and hyper-vigilant to drive improvements amidst changing security and compliance requirements. Proactively secure your healthcare organization through assessing workflows to identify privacy risks and information gaps before they become a problem.

Does my technology support the organization’s long-term security and compliance plan?

  • Installing cutting edge technology is only as valuable as the plan that it supports. Rather than setting up technology and waiting for something to happen, leverage tools and hardware that help your organization with change management. Assess the technology currently in place and implement it in a way that supports how your organization captures, manages and transforms information to strengthen security and compliance. In addition, it’s important to recognize the importance of measuring risk rather than simply gauging the strength of security controls. This can be done through a risk assessment that enables organizations to tailor security solutions to their unique needs by identifying what information is most valuable as well as areas of high vulnerability.
 

Is my organization able to communicate clearly and safely?

  • The way patients, healthcare leaders and staff communicate is constantly changing – and often driven by consumer demand. Healthcare organizations need to be able to send and receive information safely and securely across the care continuum, while being easily accessible. A couple of ways to start doing this include moving to a paperless system and enabling secure data sharing through encryption and security protocols.

Prepare for success in the new world of care

Improving security and compliance is not optional.
 
In this new world of care, it is vital for healthcare organizations to maintain a clear view of the big picture.
 
Ashish Patel
Ashish Patel, Principal Consultant, Enterprise Consulting Services for Ricoh USA, Inc., optimizes business critical services and programs for global customers, with a focus on business process agility, governance, risk and compliance. Patel’s experience includes management and technology consulting, strategic planning, business development, and full lifecycle management of large business process and technology transformation projects across a range of industries. Patel holds a Master of Science in Electrical Engineering from UCLA, as well as a Master of Science in Information Engineering and Management from Southern Methodist University.