Securing patient health information in today’s electronic environment is challenging. How do you know the safeguards you’ve put in place are effective and working?
Having worked with medical software technology for over 27 years now, I’ve seen this industry come a long way: from using a manual typewriter to file insurance claims and a pegboard system to take money
to systems completely managed by computers. There has been a revolution of automation, and it is ongoing even now. And, with the advent of the HITECH Act in the past few years, it’s gone into warp speed.
A few years ago, I took a position as the executive director of a Regional Extension Center in one of the southern states. We were charged with working with over 1,300 primary care providers in an effort to convince them to choose and implement the use of electronic health records and start hitting meaningful use marks.
During my time as director, some things began to nag and concern me about what we were doing.
Really, two main things:
1. Medical providers were sharing PHI (patient health info) in an unsecured manner (i.e. through texting on their smart phones) with their staff and other providers, not to mention their patients.
2. Now that we had put these medical providers on an EHR and computerized their information, their patients’ data was open to the world, merely sitting on their servers.
In the past, healthcare was left alone by hackers. As of late, we’ve seen the systems of many hospitals hacked and held for ransom. It has started. And, as I attended a local Medical Group Managers Association meeting recently, my fears were realized when I was informed that clinics with less than 10 providers are now being hacked as well.
Patient data is no longer safe.
Going from paper to computer has brought on some new threats that are very real and extremely important to avoid.
Thankfully, there are some safeguards that can be put into place that can help protect you, your practice, and your patients from criminals after your data. To learn how to implement these safeguards, receive a free copy of our e-book, Cyber War: Securing Patient Health Information in Today’s Electronic Environment.
Click here to get your free copy. You’ll also receive a medical security checklist to help you double check the security procedures you have in place.