Mobile devices have revolutionized the healthcare industry: They’re convenient and significantly improve work efficiency and patients’ satisfaction. Yet they also come with risks. Patient data handled by those devices can be leaked. That’s why every healthcare provider needs to be extra careful about data security when using mobile devices.
Hospitals and healthcare organizations are usually the first victims of malware attacks. WannaCry ransomware — malicious software that encrypts files until the victim decides to pay the Bitcoin ransom — took advantage of this when it hit several healthcare institutions last month.
Two trends have been rising in popularity in tandem: HIPAA compliance audits and social media. Obviously both of these are far too important to be correlated directly, but they do intersect with each other. Social media tends to push people toward oversharing, and that’s definitely something you don’t want when hosting regulated patient data.
Physicians in certain parts of the world still make house calls, but they’re a rare breed. Today, most patients either go to a neighborhood clinic or hospital, or make a quick trip to a pharmacy for instant relief. Patients who prefer to get treated in the comfort of their own home have another option too: telemedicine.
No healthcare provider today can operate without robust technology backing them. That doesn’t mean they have to spend excessively on IT infrastructure they have to manage themselves. One of those tech expenses include costly healthcare software, complete with on-premise components that a healthcare company will be much better off outsourcing.
Even if notable punishments and fines for HIPAA non-compliance have only been doled out over the last 6 years, data privacy regulations have been around for 14. And with each passing year, these rules evolve in ways that make it near impossible to keep up without an expert on hand.
If your organization hosts data regulated by the US government, you’re familiar with the scare tactics used to sell hosting services. But what lurks behind those vague threats of expensive lawsuits and unfair liability burdens? HIPAA is nearly 100 pages long and few providers actually know what it requires.
ESPN recently reported that a laptop containing the medical records of thousands of NFL players was stolen from the car of a Washington Redskins’ trainer. And while the team released a statement saying no health information protected under HIPAA guidelines was at risk, the incident shows that EMRs are vulnerable no matter the size of your company.
“We are living in a digital world, and healthcare practices need a URL”. If Madonna could change the lyrics of her 1984 classic to speak to the healthcare industry, she may have sang something like this. A URL is just one facet of the digital strategy that hospitals and private practices alike will need to adapt if they wish to remain competitive in today’s world.
While HIPPA’s implementation in relation to technology has been problematic to say the least, things have become much clearer over the course of the past year. However, there are still a few areas in which your office might not be compliant. This isn’t necessarily through negligence on your part, but rather simply a lack of understanding as to the requirements.