How Can You Keep Patient Data Secure?

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In the age of digitization, keeping patient data secure has become extremely important. Physicians, providers, hospitals, labs, radiology centers and healthcare centers are all using technology to help them in their workflows. But while technology has improved productivity, it has also made theft, loss and misuse of data easier.

how can keep patient data secure

Key patient information such as insurance, prescriptions and more could be worth a lot if it gets into the wrong hands. So what can your practice do to keep patient data safe and secure from intruders?

Let’s find out.

Device encryption

Your practice needs to make sure that all your devices are fully encrypted with the latest security features. According to a survey by Aruba Networks, nearly 85% of US hospitals allow physicians to bring their own devices to access clinical data. Due to this, safety of Patient Health Information (PHI) becomes all the more important. HIPAA safety rules also enforce keeping PHI encrypted on all the devices it is running.

A state-of-the-art, secure and encrypted EHR solution is practically essential given this reality.

Transmitting encrypted PHI

You must also keep PHI secure when transmitting it to other stakeholders in the healthcare industry such as providers, labs, pharmacies, imaging centers, and others. In addition, even if you’re only sending PHI within the premises of your practice (via email or some other medium) you still must encrypt it. Most physicians do not consider this important, but it is one of the requirements of HIPAA.

Restricted PHI

During a normal day at an average practice, a PHI is accessed by physicians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants and other support staff numerous times. You must therefore keep track of who can access what area of a PHI inside a domain.

This can be accomplished by…

Password management

The entire PHI in a practice must not only be kept in an encrypted form, it must also be secured with a password. You should develop user-level access based on the role of each person in a practice so that whenever they require accessing a PHI, they use their specific login credentials to do so.

Other thoughts?

Most good EHR solutions will come equipped with the Patient Health Information security and protection measures advocated above. That said, are there other, common sense precautions you can take to safeguard PHI?

Add your suggestions in the comments!

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About the Author

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Jason Hughes

Jason Hughes is a regular contributor to CureMD blog. His expert areas include EHRs, Practice Management, medical billing, patient portals and Healthcare IT. Other than health care, he is a Formula 1 fan.

Comments

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Thanks for the article. In our practise of implementing enterprise software solutions for HIPAA compliant companies we find the human element as the biggest concern. The staff coming in contact with PHI are typically not well trained or not aware of the importance of protecting PHI. Sending PHI information in clear text emails is a big no no but still not strictly enforced. Many such other examples. One important principle of providing security is that people should have access to information only on a need basis. Companies find it cumbersome to implement and enforce access control properties so give access to everything across the board.

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