How Do I Properly Store and Safeguard Patient Data in My New Practice?

Today, more healthcare practices, hospitals, clinics, and pharmacies are turning to digitized patient data storage. Additionally, healthcare data is growing in volume, value, and velocity. However, digitized healthcare data is a major target for hackers and other cybercriminals.

Therefore, healthcare providers must find a way to become diligent and protect sensitive financial information and patient data. With the proper protocols and technology, you can minimize the risk of attacks and secure patient data in your new practice.

Below are six tips to help you keep your patients’ data safe from collection to storage:

Limit Access to Patient Information

When launching a new practice, it’s essential to know that not everyone working in your office should access patient information. Limit access to only authorized people. Limited access to patient data in a hospital lowers the chances of a breach.

That’s because only a few key people will have access to patient data. Create a separate log-in key for each employee with access to the data. Don’t rely on devices and computers with open access. This is a costly mistake that could lead to data theft and hacking.

Additionally, include two-factor authentication for the authorized personnel. A two-factor authentication key maximizes the security and safety of your data.

For example, a good security measure is implementing a retina or thumb scanning technology in addition to passwords. This makes it challenging for hackers and unauthorized people to access sensitive patient data and financial information.

Create a Crisis-Response Plan

Data breaches are incredibly stressful, annoying, and expensive to resolve. While no one wants to deal with a data breach, it pays to be prepared in the unfortunate and unlikely event that it happens. The best way to be prepared is to create a well-thought-out crisis response plan in case of a data breach.

The plan gives your staff members well-detailed guidelines to follow in case of a breach. This ensures that they don’t waste time and resources debating and arguing about the proper steps. Your crisis-response plan should include key members of your organization such as the legal, HR, and IT department heads.

Devise a plan for each department in your organization to help in the process of pinpointing, containing, and recovering the data from the breach. After creating a crisis-response plan, remember to conduct awareness training and drills regularly. Drills ensure that all your team members are on the same page and that no one is caught off-guard.

Use Secure Network

Are you relying on Wi-Fi routers for the internet in your practice? If you are, then it’s time to reconsider your practice’s network. Unsecure wireless routers may leave your practice’s online activities vulnerable to hackers, malware, and other cyber-attacks. These activities include cloud-based patient data storage.

When using outdated technology, it’s easy for hackers to penetrate your network from a closer physical location like a nearby building or the parking lot. Instead of using unsecured wireless routers, consider switching to secure wireless networks with updated routers and regular passwords.

With a secure network, it’s also easy to block unauthorized devices from accessing your network. This will go a long way in ensuring the safety of your network and your patient’s health records.

Use the Right Software

With the right software tools, collecting patient data and storing medical records will be easier than you think. Using the right software tool will also ensure patient data is well stored to avoid breaches and hacks.

If you’re looking for cloud-based patient data management software, check out NDIS software. It’s an excellent tool for managing claims and sending invoices. Therefore, simplifying the reporting process for your employees.

Create Mobile Device Security Protocols

Like most employees in other industries, healthcare workers use their gadgets such as phones for work. Most employers don’t consider this practice harmful. However, personal mobile devices connected to your network could put medical records and patient data at risk of a breach.

For this reason, it’s imperative to put in place mobile device security protocols. These policies are known as Bring Your Device (BYOD) policies. And they require three mechanisms to work. These components include;

  • An application or software to manage all the devices connected to your network
  • A well-detailed policy outlining the duties of employees and the employer
  •  An agreement signed by all staff members

In the BYOD policy, ensure you include data security best practices, such as ensuring all devices are password-protected. You should also share a list of approved applications that employees can install on their devices. These apps should not be a threat to your practice’s cyber security.

While it’s great to allow your staff members to use company Wi-Fi on personal devices, remember it comes with risks. Fortunately, this policy will minimize the risk and ensure your patient data is secure.

Run a Risk Analysis

Another tip for securing patient data is introducing routine risk analysis. This helps you pinpoint vulnerable areas in your network and fix them before it’s too late. Any vulnerabilities present in your system provide openings for cybercriminals to penetrate your system.

HIPPA requires that all institutions covered under it and their associates frequently run a thorough risk assessment of their business.

Now You Know How To Secure Patient Data

Patient data security is a major area of concern for most practices. And with the ever-increasing clever ways hackers are accessing organization’s networks to steal sensitive data, cyber security issues are here to stay. Fortunately, the above tips will help you secure patient data.

Did you enjoy this piece? Check out other posts on our site for more informative tips.


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