Healthcare organizations and providers of medical records services that assist healthcare organizations need to be aware of the importance of cybersecurity. Cybersecurity awareness is especially significant for the healthcare sector because there is so much confidential, sensitive and expensive patient information at stake. This information includes protected health information (PHI), personally identifying information (PII) such as social security numbers, financial data such as credit card/debit card and bank account numbers as well as data related to medical research and innovation that falls under the category of intellectual property. The risk is that if a hacker steals health records, he can sell it up to ten times or more than stolen credit card numbers on the dark web. Healthcare organizations and their support services that experience data breach have to pay very high penalties for any such breach.
It is clear therefore that healthcare providers and medical review companies and other firms that assist healthcare facilities have to ensure that sensitive patient healthcare information is not exposed to unauthorized disclosure, access, modification, or destruction. For this, they have to implement effective cyber security measures, enforce policies that mandate the use of these protective measures, and train all users on the importance of information security.
With advancing technology, cyber threats are also on the increase and more protection is vital these days.
Here are some important tips that reliable medical record review services can consider with regard to implementing the best cyber security measures.
- Use cloud-based healthcare software: The cloud uses multiple redundant facilities to store healthcare data to keep it safe and secure in the event of a catastrophic breakdown in any one server center. The information technology staff will also be dedicated to making sure that the patients’ records are available 24/7/365, even when cyber-attacks plague institutions that are connected to the Internet.
- Make sure that the staff is properly trained on healthcare cyber security protocols: Ensure that in-house staff knows all proper measures to take and enforce them –if needed – to make the organization secure. For this, you have to train your staff on the latest security protocols.
- Have a strong password and don’t use the same password for everything: Create strong and unique passwords for the various websites you log in to. Do not create easily guessed passwords or use the same password for all platforms as it significantly increases vulnerabilities. Even though it can be tempting to set up one password to check your email, access your bank, and see patient records, avoid doing that. This is because rather than considering your convenience, patient security requirements should be your major concern. For security purposes, it is advisable to use a password manager. For instance, consider using a password manager that is free and highly ranked such as LastPass 4.0, LogMe Once Password Management Suite Premium 5.2, and Symantec Norton Identity Safe among others. These applications allow you to store login credentials for the websites you use and log in to those sites automatically for you. Also persuade your employees to generate new passwords on a periodic basis. Store the passwords in a secure place. Never include passwords in a shared document or email, instead use a proven password storing system. To remember the password, devise a password based on a phrase.
- Restrict access to protected healthcare information: Ensure that access to patient records is limited to authorized personnel only. Implement an audit trail system to verify who accessed what information and when. Remove access given to terminated employees.
- Risk evaluations must be done on a regular basis: This will help have a clear understanding of your organization’s security problems. This evaluation can be done by the IT team, or you can hire external agencies to perform this important job.
- Ensure that your hard drive is encrypted: Even if your data is password protected, make sure that your hard drive is encrypted to prevent hackers from stealing digital data such as photos, personal communications, work data, financial information, and healthcare data. Both Windows and iOS provide free, automatic encryption or built-in protection – BitLocker and FileVault respectively -for the hard drive that users can activate.
- Have a layered defense system: Having layered security protocols in place helps your practice to identify the attack before it’s too late. This is because, even if cybercriminals break through one layer, they still won’t be able to access the protected data.
Security has always been one of the larger concerns related to healthcare information and significant steps have been made as of late to tighten the protection of important data. Cybersecurity breaches can cause grave repercussions and following these simple tips would help organizations including those providing medical records review services avoid those threats efficiently. Have a good security plan in place as it will help you move forward before and after an attack.