How Is Healthcare Information Kept Safe?

Submitted by cmiller on Thu, 06/15/2023 - 20:49
healthcare security

You probably know that whatever you tell your doctor in the privacy of the exam room cannot be shared with others. Patient confidentiality is a law under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). But there’s another rule under HIPAA that goes beyond just the promise of confidentiality. The Security Rule addresses how electronic health information is taken, stored, maintained, shared, and protected. It protects your personal info using technical and non-technical safeguards. Those safety measures might include data encryption, access control, and risk analysis.

Technical Safeguards to Keep Healthcare Information 

Safe Access Control

Access control lays out who can view what type of healthcare information such as the electronic health record. Sensitive data should be password protected with different levels of access. Those considered “covered entities” such as doctors, nurses, hospitals, insurance companies, and the tech people who maintain the records can access your records under very strict guidelines and with your written permission. How much of your info individuals are allowed to view depends on their level of access. You also have the right to view your medical records.

Data and Device Encryption

Encryption is a security measure that makes data unreadable to unauthorized personnel. Encrypted files offer an extra layer of protection to healthcare data if a hacker successfully attacks. They may get to the record, but they can’t read its contents. Devices can also be encrypted, which is especially important for those that are used off-site and could be subject to unsecure networks.

Data Backup

To avoid the permanent loss of data, your healthcare organization should backup its information systems often. Backups are essentially copies of data. They should occur onsite, to ensure that data can still be accessed during a computer glitch or crash, and offsite, so that important information can be retrieved even if a cyberattack occurs.

Non-Technical Healthcare Data Safeguards Equipment Security

When laptops, tablets, and other mobile devices aren’t in use, they should be locked in a storage facility that’s only accessible by the IT team. This prevents unauthorized personnel from using these devices to access sensitive data.

Risk Analysis and Audits

HIPAA requires that all healthcare organizations perform routine risk analysis to evaluate the likelihood of cyberattacks, identify risks, adapt security measures, and to maintain continuous protection. Risk analysis is an ongoing process that requires constant monitoring for threats and gaps in security. Audits are a key part in that analysis. They show how healthcare data are accessed, and who accesses them. This can help you see where additional security measures or training could be implemented internally.

Medical Staff Training

When you know better, you do better. And when employees understand the importance of electronic security, they can help enforce it. Training on compliance, communication about audits, and instruction on basic security measures, such as not sharing login credentials or passwords, can go a long way to keeping private information private. A healthcare facility’s staff is the first line of defense.

Are you interested in data security and health care? Charter Career Academy offers healthcare training that can teach you how to keep data secure, including the Biomedical and Imaging Information Security program. In as few as six to nine weeks, you learn how to manage, maintain, and integrate into secure healthcare networks. You’re trained to identify and reduce cybersecurity threats in the healthcare industry. Want to learn more? Fill out the form and request info.