By Inga Shugalo
Healthcare Industry Analyst at Itransition
There’s no denying that ensuring patient data security is a continuous challenge for healthcare organizations. According to the Verizon’s recent report, the outside activities, involving the loss of data assets (e.g., laptops, flash drives, documents), hacking, using malware and social engineering, account for almost 50% of the HIPAA violations causes together. However, the external threat can be often associated with the actions of internal actors. The report also claims that 58% of reviewed incidents included insiders, making healthcare the only industry threatened from the inside more than from the outside.
Safeguarding PHI from the inside requires the collective effort of both security specialists and care providers to create strict but flexible workflow organization protocols. If the local security protocols are inconvenient, cluttered, or simply don’t apply to the organization’s IT infrastructure, the staff may eventually resort to workarounds or start skipping security measures to save time.
Poor effort in creating best practices for handling patient information in a secure way can backfire in emergency situations. If people in panic start disregarding the established practices, their actions may even increase the data exposure. To avoid that, healthcare software development company Itransition offers 3 steps for planning the unplanned and creating the PHI safety strategy with HIPAA-embracing protocols.
Step 1: Prioritizing the PHI technology
Prior to reviewing the HIPAA provisions and including them into the emergency plan, a health organization needs to pinpoint the key and supporting software that creates, stores, shares, and maintains patient health information. Ranking the applications according to their importance for patient care, the provider can properly queue the procedures for emergency mode operation, data backup, and emergency recovery.
For example, if the organization uses both a CRM and an EHR as their go-to software for care delivery, they need to decide the one that will be prioritized in case of emergency. CRM allows storing more vast patient data with all needed highlights and no billing, while EHR contains detailed treatment history. Depending on their actual use within the organization, the provider can define which one of them will be more helpful in a crisis. [Continue reading]