Best practices to improve healthcare data security
When you hear the phrase “patient safety,” you likely don't think about data security.
But the fact is, when a patient enters a hospital, their personal health information is out of their hands and at risk — everything from their address and DOB to their credit card information and private medical records. If they are not handled properly, these items can put not only a patient, but also a doctor and entire healthcare organization, at risk.
As you’re likely aware, the healthcare industry has experienced more data breaches than any other industry segment in recent years. Approximately 29.3 million patient health records have been compromised in a HIPAA data breach since 2009, according to healthcare IT security firm Redspin. With these increasing risks, healthcare executives can’t afford to take privacy and security matters lightly. Even a simple oversight, such as an employee leaving a piece of paper with a patient’s Social Security number on a multi-function printer, can lead to identity theft or fraudulent activity, putting the patient — and hospital — at risk.
While this is the scary reality we live in, there are many best practices hospitals can proactively put in place to help improve healthcare data security. These include security tools and technology such as encryption, as well as robust policies, data flow strategies and education programs to help staff members fully understand the risks involved with transporting patient information. Making privacy and security a number one priority can instill clinicians and administrators with the confidence that they are not only respecting their patient’s physical health, but also protecting their valuable information.
With the healthcare industry experiencing more data breaches than any other industry segment, it’s more important than ever to guard your patient health information. This includes everything from patient addresses, names and medical records — all which can be seen as valuable assets to hackers.
Get the tips you need to improve PHI privacy and security
 Source: "HIPAA data breaches climb 138 percent." Healthcareitnews.com. February 6, 2014. http://www.healthcareitnews.com/news/hipaa-data-breaches-climb-138-percent