Healthcare industries in the US struggle to defend patient data against threats time and time again. Despite all data protection measures taken by the US government, and HIPAA-covered entities, such as medical billing companies, security breaches still occur and the list of breaches grows every day. In the wake of technological advancements, the number of patient data leaks or data losses hasn’t decreased but has crossed several hundred, affecting millions of individuals and causing losses of several hundred million dollars.
There are several guidelines that healthcare organizations should follow for protecting health data effectively they are
- Portable storage device: Many healthcare billing organizations have a ‘portable media policy’ that prohibits employees from using portable storage devices inside the workplace. Every healthcare organization and every healthcare professional must adhere to this requirement regardless of their designation. There can be valid reasons for receiving prior approval, and they must be documented. Several studies have found that banning portable media inside the workplace reduces data theft to a great extent.
- Back up computer files: To avoid losing patient data, it is critical to keep a backup of computer files. Multiple backups of the computer files are essential to avoid data loss due to a lack of backups. To avoid data loss due to unforeseeable circumstances, the ley de protección de datos sanitarios should also be maintained in different locations.
- Limit the internet access: Data security is primarily threatened by full internet access. Organizations that bill and process medical claims must have control over providing their employees with unrestricted access to the internet. It is possible that even unintentional sharing of certain information on the internet may lead to data leaks in some cases. Furthermore, sites that allow patients to share files or use instant messaging to pass on sensitive information can pose a serious risk to patient information security.
- Streamline corporate communication: While using social sharing websites to share corporate information, organizations need to be careful. The most popular social sharing websites are designed to connect peers, friends, and professionals. Moreover, there are professional websites that publish corporate communications, industry-related discussions, and advertisements. When communicating with other healthcare professionals through social networking websites, it is always a good idea to draft the data to be published, proofread it for confidential information and then post it.
- Media destruction policy: Healthcare professionals need to be cautious when destroying old or unwanted patient data. Controlling the loss of confidential information can be accomplished by adhering to stringent data destruction policies, regardless of whether the data is electronic or paper.