Health organizations are often reluctant to adopt any cloud-based technology as they fear data security. But, if they don’t move to the cloud, they lose the benefits of mobility. Cloud is the future of healthcare, as we mentioned in the past. And if healthcare organizations adopt the cloud, they must be secure while they use the cloud.
There’s been a lot of buzzes lately about the current state of data security in healthcare. According to the National Health Information Sharing and Collaboration Act (NASCA) of 2015, hospitals must share patient data with outside organizations. The Healthcare Transparency and Accountability Act (HCTAA) of 2016 requires hospitals to protect patient privacy and report their cybersecurity posture to the public.
According to a recent National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) report, healthcare has seen a significant increase in cyberattacks and breaches over the last two years. This blog post will explore the current state of data security in healthcare and offer solutions to mitigate threats and attacks to provide safe and secure patient care.
Security and privacy issues in healthcare
Unfortunately, the federal government has yet to release the final version of the HCTAA. The legislation was introduced in the House of Representatives on May 24th, 2016, and in the Senate on June 29th, 2016.
The law aims to help patients, and providers navigate the complexities of HIPAA, HITECH, and the Electronic Health Record (EHR) Incentive Programs.
While the final version is still a work in progress, the general outline of the bill includes the following provisions:
3. Public Reporting
4. HITECH Exemption
5. Privacy Rule
7. Data Breach Notification
8. Authority for States to Enforce State Privacy Laws
9. Regulation of Electronic Health Records
10. Exemption from State Privacy Laws
Healthcare security and privacy
What does it mean to “protect patients’ privacy” when they have no privacy, to begin with?
I’ve never met someone who didn’t wish they could get healthcare insurance. However, many of us still don’t get it because we have no idea how to go about it.
As such, healthcare providers are required by law to protect our private information.
While this is true, how many of us know what that means?
Are we safe from hackers? Are we safe from identity thieves?
How do we even know what kind of security measures are in place?
We’re lucky to even have them. I remember my mom being in the hospital for over a month, and I only got to see her twice. While I doubt she was well-cared for, I cannot know what happened during her stay. Did she meet new people? Did she receive any new medications? Was there anything to be concerned about?
What to look for in a data security vendor
With the ever-growing need to share data between healthcare organizations, it is imperative to secure patient data. Data security vendors can be a major headache for companies. They can be expensive, difficult to work with, and slow.
Here are some things to look for when choosing a data security provider.
Data security vendors should be HIPAA compliant.
Your data security vendor should be HIPAA compliant.
This means they are audited and certified by the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). This is a requirement for any organization that handles protected health information (PHI).
In addition to being HIPAA compliant, your data security vendor should be able to offer the following:
– Compliance training
– Breach notification
– Data retention
– Data Destruction
The risks of data breaches
While the federal government is focused on protecting patients from hackers, it’s left the security of healthcare providers’ data to the individual states. As a result, there are countless loopholes in data security. Many organizations exploit these loopholes by collecting patient data without consent and selling it.
While some regulations are in place, they aren’t nearly enough to stop these practices.
What are HIPAA requirements?
HIPAA, or Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, is a federal law that regulates the transmission of health care information. While the law’s original intent was to make sure that patients have the right to access their health information, it has morphed into something much bigger. Hospitals are now required to protect patient privacy and report their cybersecurity posture to the public. They must also share data with other hospitals, government agencies, and foreign countries.
Frequently Asked Questions Data Security
Q: What’s your perspective on data security in healthcare today?
A: The state of healthcare today is horrible. There are data breaches in the government, in the private sector, and even in healthcare itself. So many data breaches happen every day, and it doesn’t stop.
Q: How would you define “secure”?
A: Secure means protecting patient data from theft or loss. You must use encryption to ensure that the data cannot be accessed by anyone else.
Q: What does this mean for healthcare providers?
A: Healthcare providers need to be better prepared for data breaches because they can be fined if they do not protect their patients’ information.
Q: What do healthcare organizations do to ensure data security?
A: The most important thing to do is to have a plan.
Q: What is the biggest challenge to improving data security?
A: The biggest challenge to improving data security is getting more people to realize they need it. We all think we are safe and secure, but when someone has an idea of how to get something like this going, that person needs to share it with everyone else.
Top 3 Myths About Data Security
1. There are no known cases of data breaches or hacks in healthcare.
2. There have been no reported breaches in the last few years.
3. There has been a decline in the number of healthcare IT security
Healthcare providers should take the same precautions to protect their patient data as any other organization. However, certain additional issues must be addressed because of the nature of the industry. As the healthcare industry continues to grow, the risks associated with data security increase. While the FDA has made some efforts to ensure data privacy, healthcare organizations still risk having their patient records stolen or hacked.