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EHR Security Risks! What can be Done to Protect Data? – ResolveDatas
EHR Security Risks! What can be Done to Protect Data?

EHR Security Risks! What can be Done to Protect Data?

With time, healthcare facilities are evolving significantly and tools like EHR helps to facilitate efficient and effective patient care. Healthcare providers have now started using electronic health record software in hospitals and clinics. While EHR maintains the medical records and an increasing number of healthcare facilities are using it, EHR privacy and security issues are on the rise, too.

Cases of patient’s EHR missing or not updated are increasing every year, irrespective of the strictness of HIPAA compliance and best efforts of health organizations. As per HIPAA journal, January 2021 saw 44 million records breached. Well, this might not sound like much in comparison to other breaches but the EHR’s sensitive nature makes the breach very serious.

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Security Challenges in Healthcare and the Vulnerabilities of EHR

Weak cybersecurity and data loss lead to disastrous consequences. Questions, such as who has access to the details and how data is protected from theft worry the patients.

These questions are necessary to consider as not being able to handle patient data can be a matter of life and death.

HIPAA security and privacy rules hold agencies, individuals, and organizations accountable for EHR security and the privacy of the health data of patients.

Almost all vendors take EHR risk analysis seriously. So, their products come equipped with features that protect against data breaches and hacking. Practices that refrain from adapting to an EHR platform might put a patient’s privacy at risk. Ultimately, it ends up violating HIPAA guidelines.

Patient privacy isn’t a thing to be ignored. In 2015, a huge data breach of Anthem Inc. where almost 80 million records had been leaked caused widespread concern among the patients about the security of the medical records. Several people fear sharing their medical information thinking they will land up in the wrong hands due to EHR security breaches.

A report by Gartner in 2017 on the new technology trends shows how digital ethics and privacy is a rising concern for government, organizations, and individuals.

Recently in January 2021, Florida Healthy Kids Corporation reported one of the biggest EHR security breaches. This breach happened because the business associate hosting the website for the health plan didn’t apply any patches for the last 7 years. This triggered unauthorized persons to exploit this vulnerability and got control over sensitive data.

Therefore, not adopting an EHR solution will put healthcare practices at risk and in danger of HIPAA violations.

Existing Data Security Solutions and Why are They Failing

The larger is the network, the more useful it is for offering top-quality medical care. However, it also makes cybercriminals more greedy to gain authorized access to that sensitive patient data.

Many healthcare facilities still use outdated electronic devices including laptops, smartphones, and computers that may lead to data breach issues. Using an electronic device without frequent software updates makes the device vulnerable to hackers.

Surely, technology is helping patients and medical professionals access health records in no time. Therefore, before diving in, it is important to read the privacy agreement. It is necessary to know how data will be collected and with whom it is going to be shared.

The attitude, ‘it is never going to happen to me’ is common. It takes a big data breach to wake healthcare facilities up to the necessity of cyber-security. And as expected smaller health organizations are struggling to keep up. They do not have the required resources to prevent cyber-attacks or perform EHR risk analysis.

It is a rising trend to allow patients to access their medical records. Sure, there are many benefits to this, but it also increases the attack surface. The patients fail to protect their login details.

Often healthcare facilities need to make a crucial decision on how to spend their limited resources on EHR risk analysis. They have to decide if they should spend on technologies, supplies, or staff. This is a critical decision that healthcare providers are faced with.

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EHR is Crucial for Success of Operations

What’s good is, it is possible to minimize EHR security risks and vulnerabilities. This includes using a strong cybersecurity system that covers the entire network.

Here are a few EHR security measures that can be adopted by healthcare facilities to prevent data and EHR security breaches.

1. Update the software regularly

Update the software regularly: Make sure that the operating system and all the installed software are up-to-date. The updates include critical patches that prevent potential cybercriminals from detecting EHR security risks and weaknesses in the software. As per HIPPA guidelines for EHR systems, keep your systems up-to-date with available patches and software upgrades.

2. VPN Encryption

Encrypting the network connection is an excellent way to improve your network privacy and prevent hackers from accessing it. A VPN encodes the data and eliminates the EHR security risks. Hence, the viewers will not be able to see what is going in and out. Encryption is a way to convert the original text message into an encrypted format. It is done with the

help of an algorithm and there is a very low probability that any unauthorized person can access the encrypted information. National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has a publication for recommendations and use case examples for encryption technologies.

3. Perform Regular Audits

System administration needs to conduct regular audits for EHR security. There has to be a two-step authentication in place. This will require a person to adjust details or enter new data for verifying their identity. All users need to create a strong password and keep changing them from time to time.

4. Use Professional Services

Even though there are various ways a healthcare organization can reduce potential threats, your job is to use EHR details to help patients and not only manage data security. When you assign EHR data security to a reliable agency, you can rest assured that your network safety is in professional hands. They will make sure that the EHR security measures are in place for your healthcare organization.

Why is It Crucial for Healthcare to Implement EHR Security Measures?

Healthcare needs to make sure they are making robust data security investments. They are working to keep their devices and networks connected and prospective endpoints secure. A malware attack or a data breach can be detrimental for the healthcare facilities, as well as the patients.

You might think that changing the EHR software vendor might solve the problem. However, it isn’t a logical solution. Health IT involves many manual processes, while HIPAA measures are not sufficient, with valuable patient data making them the target for hackers. Irrespective of these factors, healthcare facilities should protect their data better with up-to-date EHR security measures.

Challenges of Implementing EHR Data Protection

Here are a few barriers and challenges you might face with EHR data protection measures.

Final Words

EHR risk analysis appears to be an overwhelming process. Every avenue has to be considered while considering how to secure data. You should also look for a way to offer substantial maintenance and keep systems from being outdated by using the latest methods and complying with renewed regulations. To protect sensitive data, key steps are to automate visibility, control access policies, and implement regular monitoring to find out risks before they become breaches.

Kogni is an end to an end security solution that helps to scan all enterprise data sources and identify sensitive data which is at risk. This is done via deep data analysis. Kogni also helps to secure your Identity and Access Management system to streamline access between enterprise and cloud systems.

Interested in knowing more about how RESOLVE can transform your EHR system and drive results for you. Schedule a meeting today and get a detailed plan to accomplish your goals.

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