Health information technology and data protection
Jan 29, 2014
Information is widely relied on in healthcare, but some data is more crucial and often requires more safety measures to prevent compromises. For medical professionals, it has become especially important to ensure that staff are following all of the appropriate procedures to maintain compliance under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH). For many medical professionals, HIPAA helps keep patient data secure. With more regulations being added, it is becoming more difficult to address all points in the legislation.
Complying with industry standards
Data protection software has become a major asset to organizations that fall into HIPAA’s domain. With the tools these programs provide, healthcare firms will be able to perform risk assessments, develop a security strategy, implement policies across the business and adequately train employees, according to HealthcareITNews. Plans to integrate protection will include HIPAA compliant encryption programs that encode data and require a password to access patient files. While this software can deter compromises, completing a risk assessment will also provide insight on areas that need to be reinforced and how to maximize benefits in the process. As security methods change, healthcare staff must ensure that their strategy remains relevant and is flexible for future changes.
Protecting health information with security tools
Health information is sometimes placed at risk, but many organizations are integrating data protection software for additional safety. HIPAA has outlined very specific rules for firms to follow, but encryption is not specifically required. However, HIPAA certified expert Mike Semel noted that many penalties for stolen or lost hardware can be avoided if the businesses had used an encryption program in to encode sensitive information. HIPAA compliant encryption can help save thousands, even millions of dollars, and will offer data protection both at rest and in transit. The HITECH Act incentivizes encryption by allowing users to not report losses if they are actively leveraging the program. HIPAA, on the other hand, does not require encryption due to the unfair financial burden it may cause to some firms.
“Encryption is such a logical solution that it makes sense to use it on every portable device your organization owns,” Semel wrote. “The costs are much less than millions of dollars in potential fines, and my guess is that in a few years the rules will change requiring the encryption of all patient data.”