Almost every industry is adopting a new technology that makes business more efficient and faster. But one industry has seen major growth due to these modern technological advancements in healthcare.
One of the major benefits of technological advancements is going paperless. Everything has gone digital, from payment systems to health records. This ensures easier access to patient data.
But there was no accepted security and privacy standard to protect patient health data. This was met with the introduction of HIPAA or the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act.
What is HIPAA Compliance?
HIPAA compliance is the process that healthcare organizations have to follow to protect and secure PHI as prescribed by HIPAA to ascertain health data security.
- Protected Health Information or PHI is everyone’s healthcare data. So, in simple words, it is the data that HIPAA tries to protect as per HIPAA data security standards. With the Safe Harbor Rule, it is easier to identify the kind of data you should remove for declassifying PHI.
- Covered entities are the people, such as insurance companies, nurses, and doctors, having access to PHI.
- Business Associates work with a covered entity and maintain HIPAA compliance just as covered entities. Accountants, lawyers, IT personnel, etc. working in the healthcare industry are some examples of business associates. Also, they have access to PHI.
Data Security Challenges in Healthcare
Healthcare has changed significantly in the last few years. Sure, getting access to data is great for healthcare professionals and patients, it is also great for hackers. It has become an easy target for them. There is a serious threat to a healthcare data security company.
1. Outdated Medical Software and Hardware
Medical equipment is one of the most important expenses in the healthcare industry. So, healthcare providers have to be careful while allocating resources. Thus, often healthcare organizations might still use equipment that is outdated. The same goes for the IT service providers. But this makes the system more vulnerable to hackers.
2. Growing Attack Surface
Healthcare records are now maintained electronically. EHR has definitely improved patient care. Nevertheless, it has also led to an increase in attack surfaces for many healthcare providers.
3. Ignoring Cybersecurity Risks
Often, we think ‘it won’t happen to me. Unfortunately, it takes a severe data security hack to wake a healthcare organization. So, ignoring cybersecurity issues can lead to a serious threat for the healthcare data security company.
4. Healthcare Systems are Interconnected
Usually, a data breach in a small medical organization doesn’t make it to the headlines. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen. The real issue lies in the fact that this healthcare industry is interconnected. So, hacking into the small service providers can give attackers access to the data of larger organizations.
5. Patients have More Control Over Their Healthcare Record
Sure, giving patients access to healthcare data helps in improving the healthcare offered to patients. It also offers other benefits. However, it can increase the risk of the attack surface, too. This is primarily because many patients are not careful enough to protect their login credentials just as they protect their bank details.
6. Lack of Knowledge in Cybersecurity
Another significant problem encountered by healthcare organizations is that healthcare professionals or administrations have little knowledge about the security risks associated with personal data storage. Moreover, they fail to understand that everybody should play their part in protecting data.
Reasons the Healthcare Industry is Under the Radar of Cyberattackers
The healthcare industry is prone to cyberattacks. It stores data that is being valued even above financial data by hackers. Any cyberattack can have significant implications on the individual’s health data security.
Individuals seeking healthcare might have suffered from-
- Data can be used by hackers for blackmailing
- Embarrassment due to their condition
- Health data is used in fraud cases and identity theft
But the introduction of HIPAA in 1996 provided a minimum standard to safeguard sensitive patient information. Over the years, HIPAA data security standards and requirements have gone through a series of updates.
How does HIPAA Compliance and Security Go Hand in Hand
The HIPAA compliance rules ensure patient data security. HIPAA compliance check is knowing the types of patient data required for protecting and putting the right security policies in place.
According to HIPAA, PHI is individually identifiable health information transmitted or stored by business associates or covered entities. It refers to any form of media.
HIPAA law also defines individually identifiable health information as the present, past, and future health condition of a patient, healthcare offered to them, and the payment details.
These includes but isn’t limited to the following data-
- Dates related to treatment and death
- Social security numbers
- Contact details, such as physical details and telephone numbers
- Digital images and photographs
- Medical record numbers
- Voice recordings and fingerprints
Data Breaches Under HIPAA
A data breach doesn’t refer only to an external breach. Under HIPAA regulations, data breach refers to unauthorized people accessing PHI when they aren’t permitted. It might be a malicious attack created to steal PHI but it can also be a covered entity checking PHI in a way or at a time when they should not.
Under HIPAA, the access, acquisition, disclosure, or use of protected health information in a way that isn’t permitted and can compromise the privacy or security of patient health information is a data breach. To prevent these, HIPAA requires healthcare organizations to follow a robust strong cybersecurity program that will keep the hackers out.
Security Management Process in a Healthcare Organization
To comply with HIPAA, a covered entity has to cater to the Security Management Process standard. It covers the administrative process that develops security modules for the healthcare facility.
The standard includes the following implementation specifications.
- Risk Analysis:
Accounting the possible risk within the healthcare organization that might compromise the integrity and confidentiality of PHI.
- Risk Management:
Creating a security system to reduce risk to a reasonable level.
- Sanction Policy:
Viable sanction levels have to be established for keeping the workforce to cater to the administrative standards.
- Review of Information System Activity:
Determining if any PHI had been disclosed or used in the wrong way.
Workforce security under HIPAA has been designed to make sure that the members of the workforce have access to PHI for conducting job functions only reasonably. Covered entities have to ascertain who will set the authorization level or the termination process. This way the whole process will be restricted to a limited number of individuals.
Ensuring Data Security with the Experts
With ResolveData, your healthcare organization can harvest and harmonize data to improve healthcare. Our company knows that bad data can lead to poor outcomes. Since healthcare is an important part of our lives, decisions can’t be based on guesswork or poor data. So, we can help with the right set of tools and expertise.
To succeed, you need to partner with a healthcare data security company that understands the security challenges your healthcare organization might be facing. ResolveData can craft intelligent data management solutions to make you stand out from your competitors.
Our experts can solve the most challenging problems for you. Contact us today if you are looking to provide excellent healthcare facilities.
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