We all know about HIPAA laws. Your patients expect their personal data and medical history to be secure in your office and you as a doctor should take that oath seriously for your office. Larger offices typically have a designated compliance officer who makes sure that networks are secure, that information is safe, and that patients can trust their doctors with sensitive data. However, some smaller offices, or ones just getting started, may not be able to or want to spend money on an official system. Maybe they think that what they have is good enough, that information won’t be leaked from their simple security system. But with data security, it’s always best to go above and beyond to ensure that ALL information is safe and secure.
Because it can be hard to know if you’re secure enough, you might not know where to start when it comes to data security. We’ve put together a few tips to help you make sure your data can never get into the wrong hands.
What is your current information security plan? How often does it backup? What level of access do employees (or anyone else) have? Are all devices inaccessible to those who shouldn’t have it? Are the files password or code protected? Doing a complete analysis, knowing who has what sort of access and what would happen to the files in case of theft or misplacement, can help you see where you need to go.
Make sure your employees know the laws and are trustworthy in their positions. Help them to recognize fraudulent or spam emails or links that could introduce viruses into the system or to be cautious what “IT experts” to trust.
We know you choose your employees well but accidents happen. A work laptop or tablet gets misplaced, a vengeful ex-employee takes advantage of a slit in the system, a network is accidentally public instead of private. It can happen and one way to secure your data is to limit who has access to information that could be important. Not only that but the amount of information should be limited as well. Give your employees enough information to do their jobs but nothing more.
An office has an awful lot of people traipsing through it each day and patient information can be sitting on a desktop, saved on a portable device employees carry around, or even just sitting on the desk in a folder. Having a system that only the staff knows or layers of passwords to get into the network can help prevent a breach.
But like we said, accidents happen. If information does get out, there should be a plan to address the incident and make sure it doesn’t happen again. Once a plan has been established, write it down and make sure each employee knows what to do if something happens.
A rogue social security number can cost millions in a lawsuit or even your business so taking precautions now will help you be as secure as possible and go about your job: helping people.