It’s important for healthcare providers to ensure patient data privacy in order to build lasting and meaningful relationship with their customers. However, it’s not easy to secure health data with the growing concerns in cybersecurity threats today.
According to healthcare data breach statistics from 2009 to 2017, 2,181 healthcare data breaches was recorded resulting to theft and exposure of 176,709,305 healthcare records.
There are different ways on how cyber criminals obtain patient data, it could be in the form of hacking, improper disposal of data, theft, unauthorized access/disclosure and other types of breaches. Patient data has been the target of hackers due to informations it contains such as Social Security numbers, personal identifiable information, financial information and other data that can be used for identity theft. Another aspect to be considered is how data is stored and who are the people who could access it, patient data such as medical records can be easily accessed by doctors, emergency responder, and nurses, making it very vulnerable from hacking.
Protecting patient data should not be any less with how businesses protect their customers’ personal information. Any personal information of an individual given to healthcare organizations and institutions must be stored and kept safely to prevent any forms of cyber crime.
So how do you keep your patient data secure from potential cyber attacks?
Below are some of the best practices that will help you maintain patient data security and privacy:
- Treat each patient as top priority. The success of healthcare providers generally depends on having loyal patients. In fact, the lifeblood of hospitals, practices, and clinics are their patients. It’s important that they know how much you care about their privacy.
- Make sure your patients feel comfortable when providing you with personal details. Being open about the reasons why you ask for their personal information will help them become confident in transacting with your healthcare services.
- Integrate HIPAA-compliant software programs. When it comes to securing patient information from hacks and data breaches, HIPAA compliance is important. Shifting from paper to reliable software solutions when collecting patient information offers many benefits. For instance, storing your patient data in cloud-based programs will prevent cybersecurity breaches and other related problems because it’s one of the most secure solutions. Plus, it makes data collection much simplified compared to traditional processes.
- Focus on auditing. Some healthcare organizations experience hefty fines due to patient privacy complaints. To avoid jail time, you need to perform regular auditing to make sure your staff and the entire organization comply with privacy laws and other related policies. HIPAA compliance helps organizations meet standards and expectations of patients in terms of data security and privacy. After all, what matters most for people is the confidentiality of personal information. If you want, you can allow a third party auditor to check if you’re compliant and determine the areas that should be improved.
- HIPAA compliance training. Another way to comply to HIPAA regulations is to train your employees on how to effectively secure confidential patient data. There are different kind of penalties awaiting for you once you violate HIPAA regulations so you must keep an eye on how your employees keep patients’ data. Investing in a HIPAA compliance course can help educate employees to expand their knowledge about complying to HIPAA regulations and to prevent from facing penalties.
Healthcare regulations and laws constantly change and it’s important to keep up with those changes. Taking the most appropriate actions in order to secure your patient data is essential in the success of your organization.
When you prioritize patient data privacy, more people will trust your services. And if they see you as a trustworthy partner in healthcare needs, more patients will do business with you. The tips provided above will make you a credible provider in the healthcare industry.
So, what are the best practices that you implement in your organization to protect patient data?