It’s no surprise that healthcare has become digital, and the vast majority of hospitals have adapted technology to meet the ever-growing industry needs. Today, we have telemedicine software, chronic patient management apps, appointment scheduling systems, and many other solutions that make communication between patients and doctors faster and more efficient.
Healthcare generates and stores lots of personal patient data, including information about bank accounts, which is very attractive for hackers. Malicious attacks on hospital databases have increased, and this induces medical facilities to be more careful and take effective measures. Also, HIPAA specifies the way medical data is handled and used making hospitals take better care of data security to prevent attacks.
How to protect patient information
- Encrypt all patient data
With the increased number of mobile devices and tablets used in healthcare to gather patient information remotely, the need for data encryption has grown. Data encryption ensures that patient records will not be used by a third party and that patients’ privacy will not be put at risk even if the device is lost or stolen.
- Conduct risk assessments
It is vital to determine all the system vulnerabilities before an attacker finds them and steals your patients’ database. A regular risk assessment will help to identify weak points and promptly eliminate them. In addition, HIPAA compliance requires conducting annual risk assessment sessions and, if necessary, making appropriate changes to the system.
- Restrict access to data
Providing only authorized staff members with access to devices or applications is another way to protect health information from theft. Both access control and partial restriction ensure that only authorized individuals can see and use patient data. Don’t forget to ban access to the user accounts for terminated staff.
- Have a layered defense system
With a layered security system implemented, hackers may break through one layer but still have no access to the protected patient data. Using this system hospitals and other medical establishments can identify an attack and prevent hackers from moving forward.
- Use blockchain
The latest technology trends are not to be ignored. Blockchain is one of the most convenient ways to restrict or even ban access to patients’ data. With blockchain, all the information is stored in unmodified blocks and cannot be opened and changed without having key codes that are provided by the users who were allowed to access the data.
Medical services providers should follow the 5 tips above as guidelines to mitigate information security risks. Together with HIPAA compliance, these tips will pave the way for an effective patient data protection system. Moreover, paying attention to data security will help to avoid theft and litigation in the future.
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