Businesses across every industry face the constant threat of a data breach, but the cost and size of a breach can differ drastically from organization to organization. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) reported 477 healthcare data breaches that affected a total of 5.579 million patient records in 2017.
Overall, hacking and malware incidents increased over the course of the year and on average, healthcare organizations took longer to discover a data breach in 2017 over 2016.
What is HIPPA Compliant Data Security?
Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) is government legislation that provides data privacy and security provisions for safeguarding medical information. HIPAA compliance guidelines are in place to help healthcare organizations protect patient information as they adopt new technologies and begin to move away from paper processes.
Here are six ways to noticeably heighten your healthcare data security to prevent future data breaches.
Adhere to HIPAA Compliance
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HSS) provides a Health Information Privacy website that offers resources on all things HIPAA. You can find information on rights, covered entities, enforcement highlights and Frequently Asked Questions. This site also provides the latest updates on HIPAA news and bulletins.
HIPAA establishes requirements for the use, disclosure and safeguarding of protected health information (PHI). While there is no certification for HIPAA, healthcare organizations must remain in compliance with the rules and guidelines. If your organization has been breached, you are obligated to submit a notice of breach to the Secretary. An entity’s breach notification obligations differ based on the how many individuals were affected. See 45 C.F.R. § 164.408 to learn more.
Have Ongoing Security and Compliance Training for Employees
Training healthcare employees on proper data security practices has become imperative as a growing number of organization rely on technologies that pose a risk for a breach. According to a survey conducted by HIMSS Analytics, 80 percent of health IT executives and professionals said that employee security awareness is their greatest data security concern.
Employee awareness training is also listed as one of the top five barriers to adopting a comprehensive security program. Giving internal employees regular, and up to date training on security procedures and processes can help decrease the risk of breach. The first step to creating a culture of security, especially in the healthcare industry, is providing adequate education. Many breaches made by an internal party or employee are unintentional and could be prevented with proper training.
Create a Disaster Recovery Plan
One way to prepare for a data breach is creating and maintaining a disaster recovery plan. Looking for inconsistencies in processes is a great place to start. The goal to any great disaster recovery solution is ensuring uninterrupted performance in the event of a disaster.
Test Vulnerabilities in your Disaster Recovery Plan
To test vulnerabilities in a disaster recovery plan, work with an internal IT team or third-party security auditor to conduct simulated attacks. These tests can often reveal missed vulnerabilities and informs the organization where the recovery plan can improve. The sooner these vulnerabilities are found and fixed, means a lower risk for an organizational data breach.
Complete a Protected Health Info (PHI) Inventory
Taking a Protected Health Info (PHI) inventory helps healthcare organizations identify where data resides, how it changes during a data lifecycle and how it flows internally and externally from individuals to third parties. Understanding this data helps to manage associated risk with PHI and data breaches. By completing regular PHI checks and having standard protocols in place, healthcare organizations can greatly reduce the risk of a breach.
Know Your Provider
While many providers say they are compliant with HIPAA standards, there is no certification for HIPAA. Where LightEdge differs from many of these other providers is how we have successfully undergone a third-party examination against the HIPAA Security Rule and have been issued a Type 1 AT 101 letter of attestation confirming our alignment with HIPAA safeguards.
Compliance is LightEdge’s main priority across all our solutions and services that we offer. In fact, LightEdge goes as far as accepting compliance risk on behalf of our customers. If you would like to learn more about LightEdge’s compliance and security offerings, get in touch with one of our compliance and security experts. Contact us here to get started!