- May 12, 2023
The healthcare industry generates tons of data every day. It is not a layman’s task to secure this data and locate it in no time. Every healthcare professional has the duty to keep a balance between data’ privacy and providing accurate care. For that reason, many regulatory bodies have been formed worldwide to secure healthcare data with stringent rules.
Protected Health Information (PHI) is among the most sensitive data for all healthcare facilitators. This makes it crucial for healthcare centers to be bound to certain data protection terms, which may vary depending on the location of the facility. But what measure can every healthcare facility take, regardless of location?
Let’s comprehend the importance of data security and the 8 best practices for data security in healthcare sector.
Significance of Data Security in the Healthcare Industry
Security comes first in any organization, especially when you handle healthcare data on a large scale. It requires healthcare organizations to take care of electronic health records (EHRs), as they are accessible from everywhere.
HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996), a federal law, emphasizes the development of national standards to secure healthcare data and keep it from disclosure without asking for patient consent. Here are the benefits organizations can savor by implementing cybersecurity measures as per HIPAA standards.
Security Against Cyber Attacks
Healthcare data breaches can have drastic implications on a setup as it directly impacts the finance and reputation of the organization. Health IT surveyed that around 67% of healthcare industry breaches happen as a result of hacking.
Helps Comply with Regulations
Data security in healthcare is well-regulated to safeguard the privacy of patients. As per HIPAA’s healthcare statistics, in February 2022, the incident of cybersecurity associated with the healthcare industry was reduced by 8%, thanks to improved data security. Still, around 46 breaching incidents affected around 2.5 million individuals.
Pivotal Data Security Practices for the Healthcare Industry
Data security is crucial in every medical center, whether large or small. From diagnostic centers to hospitals, every healthcare institution must abide by data security norms. On the grounds of HIPAA, many measures are being taken by healthcare organizations to secure their information; below are some of them.
1. Training Healthcare Staff
Data security in healthcare starts with handling human resources. Security breaches in all industries are mostly made by humans, knowingly or unknowingly. That makes it inevitable to educate employees regarding possible personal information threats. By empowering staff with data security awareness programs, these activities can be reduced exponentially.
2. Data and Application Access Control
By making data access restricted, healthcare setups can shield themselves from cyberattacks. Every data should be protected and require user authentication before accessing them. Multi-factor authentication is the best way to deal with cybercrimes. Organizations can use password-protected systems or systems that require cards or keys containing unique codes or ids. Facial recognition and retina scan are even more effective for data protection.
3. Tracking Access through Logs and Monitors
Every access and usage data should be registered to have transparent operations. It helps organizations to keep track of who is accessing information and why? It is also vital to know about the location of the accessor and the device used for the same. Such logs are valuable and effectively used for improving protective measures, identifying areas of concern, and auditing.
4. Controlling Data Usage
With controlling access, it is also crucial to control the usage of personal information. It helps in minimizing malicious activities in real-time. It can also be beneficial in blocking certain actions associated with sensitive data, like sending unauthorized emails, web uploads, and copying information to external drives.
5. Data Encryption
In the present world, complete data protection is impossible without data encryption. By encrypting data both at rest and in transit, healthcare organizations can create a strong barrier for attackers to hack secured information.
6. Regular Risk Assessments
Even though companies have audits to identify various issues and commemorate them, it is essential to regularly conduct risk assessments. This helps to recognize vulnerabilities associated with healthcare data security along with other concerning areas.
7. Keeping Data Backup
Offsite location backup is a valuable way to integrate into a setup to avoid compromising data protection. Besides human attackers, it can be effective in natural disasters. By strictly controlling data encryption offsite, along with other practices, companies can ensure data security.
8. Minutely Evaluating Security Measures of Business Associates
Data security measures can only work optimally when the incoming and outgoing of resources happen safely. PHI can only be maintained when transmission and receiving happen in equally secured interfaces. This is why evaluating the security measures taken by business associates is essential.
Data security is vital when it comes to managing any healthcare industry. With every going day, the use of digital applications is increasing, promoting the use of digital spaces to store important data. With data storage, data security is the first and foremost concern as it is associated with sensitive personal information. By gauging the importance of data security and implementing protection measures, organizations can keep themselves equipped to shield data from attackers worldwide.