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5 Ways To Protect Sensitive EMR Data

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According to a study conducted by IBM Security, there has been a significant rise in the attacks on the technology systems. For instance, the study asserts that the number of ransomware attacks jumped 6,000% between 2015 and 2016. To further underline the study, a report by SonicWall indicates that there were 3.8M ransomware attacks in 2015. Despite the staggering attacks, tech pundits expect the figures to double in the coming years.



The health domain, in particular, has become an attractive data breach target, and this is for a good reason. Healthcare industry has it all in one place, from the social security numbers, names, birth dates, insurance identification numbers, payment information, protected health information (PHI), and more.


The bottom line is that all hospitals and healthcare organizations should be extremely vigilant in protecting sensitive EMR data. Below, we look at some of the strategies that they can employ in securing their data. The strategies entail a mix of smart use of existing technology, employee education, and physical security.


Encrypt All Data


Healthcare organizations have rapidly adopted Health Information Technology (HIT). HIT has seen many of the health care providers using smart devices such as mobile phone, which allow easy and fast access to the online resources and also allow them to access patient data remotely.


In as much as the smart devices offer innumerable benefits, they’re susceptible to data breaches and can easily be compromised. If the devices are stolen, misplaced or left unattended, someone could easily access the unencrypted data, putting the patient's life at risk. Encrypting the data on the devices will ensure that unauthorized users will not be in a position to view or use the existing data in any way whatsoever, even if they manage to steal the device.


Train your staff


Your staff forms the backbone of your facility’s operations, and therefore, they should be knowledgeable in handling the security system. Training should help them become aware and understand what role they play in keeping the patient’s information operation safe.


Also, training will educate your staff on how to implement certain safety procedures, such as handling data, multifactor authentication processes, spotting red flags in communication, and much more.


Update your Health Insurance Technology


Just like technology, cybercrime also evolves-spammers, and hackers are devising new and effective ways to crack the existing security systems. To prevent the hackers from gaining access to your systems, healthcare organizations should always be a step ahead of the hackers.


The only way to do this is by updating your software and system security so that you’re in a better position to fight and defend yourself against the cyber-attacks.


Vet third parties' security


Did you know that your software vendors could be the main loophole that the cyber attackers use to access your system? Some of the various processes that the software vendors handle include billing and document management, and you should, therefore, do a thorough background check before hiring a vendor.


Healthcare IT consultants at TrueNorthITG is a trusted leader and software vendor that offers transformative technology solutions. We offer high-security standards and offer a myriad of solutions in disaster recovery, EMR hosting, healthcare IT and many more.


Delete unnecessary data


Many of the data breach victims can attest to this: the more data held by an organization, the more there’s for criminals to steal. Healthcare organization should have a policy that ensures they limit their digital footprints, by deleting information that is no longer needed. Also, it pays to have a regular audit of the information being stored, so that the organization knows what is there and can easily identify what needs to be deleted.