February 28, 2024

Ways to Prevent a Healthcare Data Breach – 2024

Healthcare Data Breach – Maintaining Data security is critical in the healthcare industry, and a lack of adequate protection equates to significant risk. The privacy and safety of patients should be given high consideration by management.

In the healthcare industry, cyber-thieves are particularly interested in obtaining sensitive patient data, such as a person’s date of birth, government-backed retirement number, nearest family member, and previous addresses–which can be used to take an individual’s identity.

It is also possible to use information about medical services that have been obtained as a weapon to compel money from medical care organizations that are unwilling to provide accurate data. As the most significant threat, most respondents claimed they are willing to accept an information lapse that increases the risk of making a patient’s personal health information public.

As a result, patients whose medical and financial records are stolen or lost are more vulnerable to fraud. Let’s speak about how the healthcare industry can avoid a data leak.

1. Assess existing security threats

HIPAA requires providers to conduct an annual security risk analysis to detect vulnerabilities and review policy. As a top priority, conduct regular security audits that are not shortened or omitted altogether.

2. Have an incident reaction plan

In the event of a security breach or incident, having a response plan in place can help your organization avoid escalation. This strategy can help you make informed decisions and take the appropriate action moving forward.

3. Never cease teaching your employees

Education and training are a no-brainer when protecting yourself and your loved ones. Kaspersky found that 64 percent of healthcare professionals in the United States were unaware of cybersecurity measures, and 48 percent had never even read cybersecurity policies used in their workplaces. Only a third of healthcare professionals could define HIPAA, and nearly half of all respondents had never received any cybersecurity training.

As a result, you must ensure that your employees are well-versed in the ramifications of various types of data breaches in the healthcare industry. Moreover, they should be aware of measures to prevent and respond to a potential threat.

4. Restrict access to medical records

Identifying users, keeping track of their activities, and ensuring proper log-in and log-out protocols are critical in a healthcare business with hundreds of individuals and devices. Only healthcare professionals dealing with medical records should be able to access them; therefore, ensure you have appropriate access restrictions based on user role.

5. Set up a subnetwork

Patients, visitors, staff, and medical gadgets can all have wireless networks within your medical facility. Guests should be able to connect to your secure network, but only through a public Wi-Fi network separate from the one where patient data is stored.

6. Limit personal device usage

Using personal devices for remote access by healthcare personnel increases the chance of malware infiltrating the system, making it more vulnerable to attacks.

A clear policy outlining which devices can be used in and out of the network and how they can connect to the network should be in place for employees who bring their phones or other electronic devices to work.

7. Avoid employing old IT infrastructure

Hackers have an easier time accessing more than decade-old equipment. Replacing old equipment regularly can aid in data breach prevention.

8. Maintain regular software updates

Hackers are always on the lookout for new ways to obtain your personal information. Regular software updates remove problems from the system and reduce your company’s vulnerability to threats.

9. Examine service-level agreements

You should ensure that anyone you give access to patient data complies with HIPAA and other relevant rules before choosing a third-party vendor. When a contract comes to an end, be sure that your organization is solely responsible for the data and that you can withdraw access to the data at any time.

10. Encrypt data

Cyberattacks can be mitigated with the use of encryption technologies. Encrypted data is not deemed unsecured under HIPAA’s Breach Notification Rule, and as a result, the loss of encrypted data does not constitute a breach. As a result, despite the fact that you still have an event to deal with, encryption can safeguard you from possible government sanctions.

11. Establish and implement retention schedules

EHRs with sensitive data ought to be kept in the digital environment for as short a time as possible. For each piece of information, a timeline should be created that outlines the length of time, kind of storage, and method of destruction.

12. Effectively destroy sensitive information

The destruction of sensitive data should be done in a secure manner. As a result, work with a certified and confirmed document destruction company.

13. Increase your security budget

Invest in your IT and legal staff as well as cutting-edge network security tools. Your IT personnel should not prioritize digitalization over security modeling, so keep that in mind. To be ready for an attack, a legal team should practice a proactive approach.

Even if you follow these guidelines, you may not be able to completely remove the danger of cyberattacks in healthcare. In order to do this, you must have a firm grasp of the fundamentals of industry security.

What options are available for safeguarding patient information?

  • Retaining and transporting PHI in a secure manner
  • PHI should only be stored on internal systems secured by firewalls.
  • Charts can only be accessed by authorized personnel if they are stored in secure locations.
  • Preventing illegal access to PHI through the implementation of access restrictions.

HIPAA Privacy and Security Rules

In the United States, HIPAA laws have the greatest impact on healthcare providers, while other regulations, such as the upcoming GDPR, have an impact on global operations.

It is the responsibility of healthcare providers and business partners to be abreast of the most recent requirements and to select vendors and business partners who are also in compliance with these regulations. Protecting healthcare data is one of the most important aspects of HIPAA.

The HIPAA Security Rule – For enterprises covered by HIPAA, the HIPAA Security Rule aims to ensure the safety of electronic health information during its creation, use, receipt, and maintenance. To ensure the safety of patient health information, the Security Rule establishes principles and standards for administrative, physical, and technological handling.

The HIPAA Privacy Rule – As per the HIPAA Privacy Rule, medical data, insurance information, and other confidential details must be protected from unauthorized access. Patient consent is required for any third-party use or disclosure of protected health information under the Privacy Rule.

The HIPAA Privacy Rule is primarily concerned with operational scenarios to prevent providers and their business associates from utilizing a patient’s PHI in ways that the patient has not previously agreed to. Personal health information is secured by the HIPAA Security Rule, which sets rules and regulations for how health information should be protected to maintain the integrity and confidentiality of healthcare data.

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