3 Ways healthcare teams can improve patients’ security

In the healthcare industry, smart data management isn’t just a best practice for IT teams – it’s a necessity. Most hospitals, physicians’ offices and other organizations use independent management systems to ensure compliance with standards such as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), but files still get misplaced and exposed. That’s why more than 21 percent of data breaches occurring in the first half of 2015 were in the healthcare industry, namely the high-profile identity theft attack on Anthem Insurance.

Recently, a report by IS Decisions titled “Healthcare: Data across compliance,” found that 63 percent of healthcare staff fail to identify individual user access to patient data. In other words, elements like concurrent logins, password sharing and manual logoffs regularly expose industry data to risks, despite 57 percent of healthcare staff members having security guidelines enforced in their employee contracts.

Keeping data compliant and secure isn’t just a matter of avoiding the economic fallout of a breach; it’s a critical part of maintaining patients’ trust. If you’re part of a healthcare IT team, the below tips can help improve data management and security at your organization:

Be transparent about security audits.

According to IS Decisions’ report, only 34 percent of healthcare staff in the U.S. know their organizations conduct timely security audits. Whenever possible, teams should analyze risks at the point of storage – and keep employees in the loop about the reasons driving the activity and the risks identified during the audit. Doing so reminds employees to help uphold security measures and can help deter workers from maliciously exposing access credentials or stealing data.

Restrict access rights to private data.

Once you know where your private data is stored, you’re better suited to protect it. Another survey by the Ponemon Institute, as reported by Health IT Security in the article linked above, found that 73 percent of healthcare and pharmaceutical industry employees have access to their companies’ sensitive or confidential patient information. User access permissions and audit user roles connect employees with the data they need to do their jobs, without sharing additional access to private data and increasing the potential for inadvertent breaches.

Go above and beyond compliance regulations.

Complying with HIPAA guidelines can help keep your data protected, but it may not be enough to help establish trust among your patients and set your company ahead of its competition. Internal protocols and best practices that go above and beyond compliance with industry regulations can show patients that you value their privacy, and that their confidential information is safe in your hands.

Learn more about adding data protection, security and discovery to your organization.

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Jeff Boehm

Jeff Boehm

Jeff Boehm was the vice president of marketing at DataGravity for 2 years. Jeff brought more than 20 years of experience with a rare combination of marketing skills, organizational leadership and technical background to DataGravity, having shaped the BI and search markets working for industry pioneers and disrupters.