Data Protection in Healthcare – 8 Tips for Securing Your Data
Healthcare organizations collect and accumulate data rapidly. This makes data protection in healthcare so difficult.
The more data you have, the more privacy and security risks there are. Data breaches can affect your organization’s reputation. They can also incur major costs.
For instance, HIPPA violations can be as much as $1.5 million yearly. And they will hold you – the healthcare provider – responsible for data breaches.
Techjury says hospitals account for 30% of all large data breaches. So, you can’t afford not to upgrade your security.
8 Steps to Secure Your Healthcare Data
1. Offer Complete Cybersecurity & Compliance Training
No healthcare cybersecurity strategy would be complete without staff training. After all, IBM says human error causes 23% of all data breaches.
The healthcare industry also has a history of lagging behind when it comes to new tech. New hardware and software healthcare cybersecurity solutions are installed. Hence, it’s key that personnel know their part in keeping data safe.
Failing to train can make you vulnerable to email phishing and other risks. These exploit human error.
Offering cybersecurity and compliance training will help your staff understand their part in stopping data breaches. It will stop them from taking any action that could put your organization at risk.
2. Improve User Authentication
34% of healthcare data breaches come from unauthorized access or disclosure.
Healthcare cybersecurity relies on better user authentication. Users should be asked to authenticate more often before accessing specific data. This will stop costly mistakes.
It may seem tedious sometimes when users need to authenticate more often. But they also think about what they need to do before logging in. By design, there has to be more thought behind every action. This leads to better data protection.
3. Encrypt Your Data
Only authorized users should have access to sensitive data. Data encryption goes hand in hand with user authentication. Encryption can help protect personal health information. It doesn’t matter whether it’s documents, images, or messages.
It would be good to study HIPAA Security Rule, which includes:
- Unique user identification
- Emergency access procedure
- Automatic logoff
- Encryption and decryption
In brief, data encryption matters most in the healthcare industry. This is because of the variety and velocity of sensitive patient data they manage daily.
4. Create Your Audit Trail
In considering data protection in healthcare, you must know who did what and when. Manually creating and saving this information is time-consuming and prone to error. Technology makes this process easy.
The HIPAA Final Omnibus Rule requires an audit trail. So, if you haven’t put this in place yet, the time is now.
The HIPAA Security Rule has other requirements to protect personal health information. It would be important to follow their rules.
5. Conduct Regular Risk Assessment
While making an audit trail to discover the cause of an incident, risk prevention is equally important. Regular risk assessment can help you to detect the following issues:
- Weak points or vulnerabilities in your healthcare security
- Shortcomings in the vendor’s security posture
- Gaps in staff awareness
Evaluating risks with a security risk assessment tool can help avoid costly data breaches. It further minimizes the impact of data breaches like penalties and reputation damage.
6. Upgrade Your Healthcare Cybersecurity Solutions
Data protection in healthcare and any industry leans heavily on the right strategy and tech. It may seem obvious. But you must upgrade your healthcare cybersecurity solutions. This must be done often and on an ongoing basis.
Unfortunately, old procedures, technology, and systems aren’t as effective as they once were. You must get rid of them.
The best minds in cybersecurity are having difficulty keeping up with hackers. Hackers are coming at theft from new angles every single day.
Review your inventory, your staff, and your IT needs. Make sure you have adequate protection based on your organization’s needs.
7. Stay Up to Date
It’s not enough to train your staff. It’s not enough to upgrade your systems. Implementing everything we talked about here is not enough. You must also stay up to date in every way imaginable.
Whether it’s HIPAA compliance. Using the latest technology. Offering updated training to employees. Healthcare data protection is very difficult if you don’t keep up with changes.
It makes sense to have people on your team stay current and know what to do.
8. Hire Cyber Security Professionals
Hospitals and healthcare providers must get the right help. No matter whether you are hiring cybersecurity professionals in-house or working with an agency.
Professionals know how to protect data better. They are experienced in cloud technologies and cybersecurity protocols.
Many cybersecurity professionals aren’t choosing to work in healthcare. This means there is often a limited talent pool.
That’s why outsourcing to a security provider can be an excellent way to improve your data protection in healthcare.
In summary, data protection in healthcare is critical. It is not a one-off activity. It should be a continuous effort. The challenge is that healthcare organizations accumulate data very quickly.
Following the right data protection strategies ensures your healthcare data is protected against today’s security threats.