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Healthcare Data Security: Do’s and Don’ts

Healthcare providers and other stakeholders have moral, ethical, and legal obligations to safeguard patient privacy and ensure data security. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) establishes national standards aimed at preventing the unauthorized disclosure of sensitive patient health information. HIPAA compliance prohibits healthcare data from going public without the patient’s knowledge or consent.

Similar to the concerns surrounding data privacy on social media platforms such as Facebook, healthcare data must be handled with the highest standards of care. Unfortunately, there has been a rise in healthcare privacy scandals, including incidents of data breaches and improper access to users’ private information without consent.

Patients reasonably expect their health information to remain confidential. Healthcare providers must protect their patient’s information, safeguarding it from exposure without explicit permission.

To protect healthcare data, medical employees and stakeholders should follow these dos and don’ts to make sure their patients feel safe, happy, and secure.


Comply with HIPAA regulations

The No. 1 rule in securing healthcare data is adhering to HIPAA regulations. These laws are intentionally put in place to protect patient’s privacy and avoid security breaches, especially in our increasingly digitized world. Patients have certain rights over their health information, and HIPAA places limits on who has access to that data.

As a healthcare provider, it is important to review the HIPAA Security Rule, Privacy Rule, and the Breach Notification Rule to ensure your staff upholds the necessary ethical and legal duties.

Use strong authentication

Only certain authorized individuals should have access to your firm’s healthcare data systems. Ensure your data systems require two-factor authentication and strong passwords to verify the identity of users accessing the information. This will decrease the potential for cyber hacks or security mishaps.

Secure the hardware and software.

Both the hardware and software should be protected to prevent suspicious activity or threats. Ensure the servers and data centers are locked up and difficult to access, only allowing authorized users to enter. As for the software, implement regular software updates to enhance security measures and protect against potential threats.

Establish clear policies and procedures

It is one thing to have secure software, but if the team is unaware of the dangers of unmonitored healthcare data, the protected software won’t be of much help. Implement consistent training to educate staff on their responsibilities to protect patient information and notify them on how data should be handled, accessed, or shared with others.

Staff should also be aware of a universal response plan in circumstances where a data breach does occur. Strict protocols and clear communication are key.


Don’t share data freely

Avoid sharing healthcare data over unsecured communication channels or networks. Transmitting sensitive healthcare information through insecure channels increases the risk of data breaches and exposure. Unsecured communication methods, such as unencrypted emails or unprotected networks, leave data vulnerable to interception by unauthorized users.

Don’t delay or ignore suspicious activity

If there is any sign of unusual activity, be sure to address it immediately. Look deeper into red flags as soon as they arise and adhere to your firm’s response plan when necessary.

Remember, the health and safety of your patients should be the top priority, and instant action is essential to reduce potential risks and protect their sensitive information.

Don’t overlook the importance of regular security updates.

Neglecting to implement software updates immediately upon their release can lead to unresolved security weaknesses. The goal is to keep security measures up to date to prevent harmful third parties from exploiting sensitive health information.

Contact a Healthcare Lawyer Today

Ensuring HIPAA compliance is fundamental for the success of any healthcare practice. It requires ongoing maintenance and a thorough understanding of healthcare data best practices. Ultimately, it all comes down to fostering trust with your clients and making sure they feel well cared for and safe.

At Fenton Jurkowitz Law Group, we can guide you through the healthcare data do’s and don’ts tailored to your specific needs. For more information on how hiring a HIPAA attorney can give you peace of mind, contact us at (310) 444-5244 or fill out the form on our website today.