More than 23% of all data breaches in 2017 were related to the medical and healthcare industry.
Medical data is extremely valuable to thieves. Think about it. One medical record contains:
- Driver’s license number
- Insurance cards
- Payment history
- Phone number
- Prescription information
- Social security number
Not only does a medical data breach affect the patient, it also subjects the healthcare organization to fines and legal violations, all while losing patient trust.
Fortunately, if you’re a doctor or medical administrator, there are ways you can protect your patient data.
Read on to learn top tips to prevent medical record loss.
Secure All Devices and Computers
Nowadays, most (if not all) patient information is stored on computers and devices. To ensure the safety of your patient data, computers and mobile devices must be secured. This means:
- Requiring all device users to have their own, unique passcode. This enhances visibility into who is logging into your medical record systems, while limiting access to specific individuals.
- Backing up files electronically. Use secondary systems, such as cloud-based systems or offline computers, to store patient data. This way all information is secured if your main system fails or malfunctions.
- Installing firewalls and anti-virus software. This adds an extra layer of protection to patient data. Work with your IT team to protect your network from a data breach.
Incorporate Access Control
Not only is access control great for building security, it’s also extremely effective for securing physical patient data. Access control devices (e.g. biometric readers, key cards, swipe readers) allow you to assign each individual a certain form of identification to help determine who is accessing sensitive areas where patient data is kept. This includes:
- Medical equipment storage rooms
- Medicine storage rooms
- On-site pharmacies
- Operating rooms
Additionally, access control systems produce a log of everyone who entered and exited a room at a specific time. This gives you complete control and knowledge of who has access to patient records.
Implement A Cyber Security Policy
With medical data breaches on the rise, it’s critical for your organization to have a cyber security policy. Consider the following steps to implement a policy:
- Secure Internet of Things (IoT) devices. These days, medical institutions commonly utilize IoT devices like tablets used to access patient records. Limit your risk of a data breach by conducting regular audits of all IoT devices.
- Keep software and electronic devices updated. Your cyber security policy should address updating anti-virus software and device software at regular intervals to ensure new cyber attacks can’t penetrate your network and steal patient records.
- Train employees on your policy. Include an overview of the cyber security policy with your head of IT for all employees. Host regular policy reviews so everyone is aware of rules and procedures.