In recent years, healthcare practices across the country have accelerated their digital transformation efforts to modernize their operations, bake more efficiency into their workflows and processes, and deliver stronger patient experiences.
While this digital evolution is a good and necessary thing, it also exposes practices to some significant challenges. Chief among them: healthcare data security and patient privacy and confidentiality.
Unfortunately, in the wake of the pandemic, more and more healthcare practices are being targeted by hackers. In fact, one recent study found that the healthcare industry is currently experiencing more breaches than any other sector.
Healthcare data breaches do more than shatter patient trust and give practice managers headaches. They’re also exorbitantly expensive. According to IBM, the average healthcare breach now has a price tag of $9.23 million, a $2 million bump from 2020.
With ransomware on the rise and cyber attackers getting more and more confident and aggressive in their efforts, healthcare practices need to do everything within their power to enhance healthcare data security and prevent bad actors from compromising data.
How to Ensure Healthcare Data Security
As you begin thinking about what you can do to improve your practice’s security posture, keep these four tips in mind. By doing so, you will substantially reduce the likelihood your practice is a victim of a breach — much to the delight of your patients, your employees, and your bottom line.
1. Invest in Secure Technology
One of the easiest ways to protect patient privacy while maintaining HIPAA compliance is by investing in purpose-built practice management solutions that were designed with security and compliance in mind.
For example, today’s leading cloud-based health practice technology gives you the peace of mind that comes with knowing your sensitive patient data is stored securely on the trusted vendor’s infrastructure. Further, the right solution will ensure data is encrypted so that even if bad actors are able to infiltrate systems, they won’t be able to make sense of the data.
When you invest in cloud-based solutions, you get the added benefit of software that is continuously updated with new security features, further strengthening your healthcare data security posture.
2. Implement Strict Access Controls
It’s one thing to have a great software solution serving as the foundation of your practice. It’s quite another to ensure that only authorized individuals are able to access it.
As you begin implementing secure solutions, you need to enact strict access controls that prevent unauthorized individuals from using the software. Consider embracing the principle of least privilege, giving your users the minimum permissions they need to do their job.
3. Train Your Team
If your team doesn’t understand the importance of security and doesn’t know how to properly use technology, your practice is much more likely to be impacted by a breach.
To improve healthcare data security, be sure to regularly train your team about security protocols and evolving healthcare standards. Even if nothing changes from year to year, a quick refresher can go a long way toward reinforcing policies and reminding employees about how important this is.
You also need to train your on the software they’ll be using. When you partner with the right vendor, you’ll have access to a training specialist who can provide custom one-on-one training sessions. Since training has a huge impact on adoption and ROI, it’s important to look for a vendor that provides training support.
4. Audit Your Systems
Once you have a solid security framework in place, your work is just beginning. As the cyber landscape continues to evolve, practices need to keep pace by regularly auditing their systems, policies, and procedures to make sure everything is squared away.
When you invest in the right health practice management and EHR security solutions, the vendor will take care of a lot of this for you. Still, best practices call for practice managers to continuously monitor security to keep patient data private and confidential.
Read more articles about healthcare data security and medical practice building on our blog.