One of the primary lessons we have learned from our decade of experience in the healthcare industry is that it is highly imperative that healthcare organizations keep themselves safe from security breaches. Breaches can cause healthcare organizations millions of dollars in fines, as well as tarnish its reputation for a long time. At PolicyMedical, we strive to develop solutions that help healthcare organizations create, organize, and manage policies and contracts to minimize the possibility of such events to occur. With that said, our offerings may not always be the right fit for every healthcare organization and there may be another vendor that has an offering that is a better fit; we’ll let you decide.
5 Ways Healthcare Facilities Can Avoid Breaches
Below are 5 ways healthcare facilities can avoid breaches:
It is stated that HIPAA security standards do not require e-mails, or any other correspondence from the healthcare facility to be encrypted. However, the security standards do encourage facilities to assess whether or not the unencrypted information transmission is at risk of being accessed by unauthorized parties and thereby, adopt some of form of encryption.
Such instances are a good example of where HIPAA may fall short. Such transmissions may lead healthcare facilities towards data breaches as these transmissions may include an exchange of patient billing and administrative information with the payers and health plans. Whereas, other transmissions may include electronically transferred patient reports with sensitive information, which may put a healthcare facility at a risk of leaking personal information of its patients. Therefore, it is always a good idea to take safety measures when conducting such transfers of sensitive information in order to avoid hefty fines resulting from data breaches.
Considering that healthcare industry is often a late adopter when it comes to technology, it is no surprise that many healthcare facilities still use postal services to deliver patients’ test results and reports. You may have either experienced or heard of various instances when the mail is delivered to the wrong address, creating the risk of having the personal information to end up in the wrong hands. Hence, relying on conventional mailing services may put your healthcare facility at risk for data breaches. Due to such risks, it is recommended that healthcare organizations should adopt a paperless route that allows them to electronically send the reports and results to their patients using security measures such as encryption and passwords. It is also a good idea to store any such sensitive information in a well organized and managed electronic document management system. Policies and procedures documents that have sensitive information, or inform the healthcare workers about such practices should be stored and distributed electronically. This not only helps with the security but also helps the workers’ efficiency.
Having several data-storing devices in facilities may lead healthcare workers to forget about them. This causes the risk of data information of falling into the wrong hands. Devices such as printers, copy machines, and the likes tend to store such information each time they are used. Therefore, it is not uncommon for information to leak from such devices and causing a data breach. However, having a sound healthcare policy management system in place will help inform workers to be careful when dealing with patient information in such instances.
When it comes to disposing of sensitive information in paper-based documents, it is imperative that healthcare workers are extra careful. If a document is not rightfully disposed of, there is a risk of the sensitive information to be leaked to the wrong parties. Therefore, it is encouraged to adopt a completely electronic document storage system that can minimize such instances from happening. Having sound policies and procedures help healthcare workers to become better aware of the dangers and encourages them to follow effective procedures that help protect organizations from breaches. This is where a robust healthcare policy management system can come in play.
It is imperative that healthcare workers and staff members are fully aware of the healthcare organization’s policies and procedures. According to AAFP, most security breaches occur when people working in a practice exercise faulty judgment or fail to follow procedures in which they’ve been trained. Having a managed and organized healthcare policy management system helps effectively distribute policies and procedures manuals among staff members to keep them informed about the proper procedures and the dangers of falling short.
At PolicyMedical, it is our aim to develop and build robust policy management software and contracts management solutions to help healthcare facilities to avoid breaches and data leaks. Having a powerful and effective healthcare policy management software will not only make it easy to manage and organize policy documents but also help in improving efficiency and effectivity of the organization. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us, as we are more than pleased to help you come to a sound conclusion, even if it means you are better off with another vendor. Alternatively, you may book a demo to see our solutions in action.