As the healthcare industry continues to move into the digital world, providers have to move with it and find ways to keep their patients’ data safe. A survey conducted by Transunion Healthcare found that 7 out of 10 patients said they would avoid healthcare provider who encounters a data breach. In 2015 alone, 74% of smallbusinesses had a security breach. Data breaches continues to grace the headlines, feeding to the importance of breach protection. Many providers have turned to encryption to safeguard their security strategy. Encryption won’t stop data breaches but it can reduce the chances. Encryption is the foundation of any data protection strategy. Before putting your data protection strategy into a plan, review the considerable data best practices below.
How Encryption and HIPAA Can Help You Be a Trusted Provider
All data within your practice should be considered valuable. Practice data includes employee/HR data, financial records, patient information, health information, and anything else that can be useful for data hackers. All of that data should be encrypted to be safe. Some practices only encrypt the data that they feel is top secret, leaving other important data out. However, that may lead to more trouble, as hackers will notice that certain data is more valuable than other to your practice and go after that top secret data.
The way data flows in your practice is important to consider when thinking about encryption. Data flow questions to consider: do you send/receive emails out with attachments? Do you use USBs to store/send/receive data? How do your practice store/share large amounts of data internally and externally? Do your practice use cloud based storage services? The encryption solution that you pick should have a fix for the answers to those questions, adapt to the way your practice uses data and how data flows within your practice.
The use of data may seem obvious, but it is something important to think about. Data is so valuable to any organization and it is the main information of all workflows. Ifdata is disrupted in any way then the workflow will be disrupted as well. Consider your practice’s workflow, how do your practice go about making the day-to-day jobs more productive? What tools are used in-house? What devices or apps are used? Do any of those tools, devices, apps, etc. present an opportunity for data loss? Important questions to address before initiating an encryption strategy.
An valuable question to ask yourself is, who has access to your data? Staff, Partners, Vendors, Attorneys, Patients, Payers, and more all have access to essential data. All of those users should only have access to the data that is vital for them to perform their tasks. So ask yourself, does your staff and ancillary partners only have access to the data that they need to do do their job?
Where your practice data is located is important to the safety of that data. Data maybe in a data center, cloud database, or on devices. As the healthcare industry continues to evolve and digitize itself, it requires practices to have to become more portable device driven. A new trend with organization is allowing staff to bring their own devices BYOD and take them home. If this is the case with your practice, remember that they are carrying around sensitive data on those devices, increasing chances of a data breach. Which is why an encryption protection strategy is needed.
Data breaches happen everyday! And knowing exactly when will your practice be the next target is up in the air. To minimize the chances your practice needs to understand how to comply with a clearly defined data protection plan and how to use encryption. This is where HIPAA Compliance comes into action. Having a practice that is fully HIPAA Compliant is more beneficial than ever before. Breaches are happening and patients are not trusting in providers do to those incidents. Don’t lose your patients trust because you haven’t invested in HIPAA or encryption. Do the right thing and protect your patients and your practice. Remember safe data = a successful practice!