The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) is essential for safeguarding a patient’s personal and medical information. Organizations that are responsible for managing or accessing sensitive patient information would do well to adopt the following practices in order to minimize the risk of a data breach.
1 Avoid Technology That Is Not HIPAA Compliant
From cloud-based data storage and off-site service providers to accessing the local network using an unsecured smartphone or other mobile device, relying on technology that is not HIPAA compliant can lead to no end of problems. Digital infrastructure that has been hastily assembled or created using software or services that may be far from secure can quickly become a major liability. Protecting a patient’s medical information is a very important responsibility, one that no business or organization can afford to take lightly. Investing in the digital platforms, software and applications that are able to provide a superior level of safety and security is absolutely essential when it comes to protecting patient information.
2 Conducting an Assessment and Internal Audit
Failing to assess the current state of the network, workflow and the digital infrastructure that businesses rely upon everyday means that many potential vulnerabilities may be going unnoticed. Taking stock of current resources is also the first step towards making any upgrades or improvements needed to shore up security. Performing a comprehensive assessment of their network and digital working environment can provide businesses with the level of insight and understanding they need in order to make more effective decisions.
Not every business or organization may possess the tools, talent and other resources that may be required in order to perform a security audit. Third-party security services and solutions like HIPAA PCI from Liquid Web may prove to be a valuable resource. Working alongside an experienced service provider who has the software, knowledge and expertise to identify and address any underlying security vulnerabilities can allow businesses to better address the risks associated with a data breach.
3 Provide Training for All Employees
Even the most secure infrastructure may be of little use in the event that employees and users lack proper training. Simply impressing the importance of protecting patient information may not be enough, especially when dealing with staff, employees or associates who may not fully understand the software or digital security features that have been put in place. Providing all workers with the training they need in order to practice safe browsing habits, utilize more effective passwords for their account log-ins or to avoid the other common mistakes that could end up compromising the network or placing sensitive data at greater risk is an issue of paramount importance. Ongoing training and refresher courses may also be required in order to ensure that employees are kept up to date regarding new security protocols or emerging threats.
According to Joe Oesterling, Chief Technology Officer at Liquid Web, “HIPAA and PCI compliance often requires additional security measures.” Seeking out superior security resources, services and solutions from the right provider can ensure that organizations are better able to take the steps necessary to protect themselves and their data.