Since the start of the HIPAA Privacy Rule, there have been more than 167,000 complaints and potential violations.
As a medical professional, it’s your responsibility to ensure that the medical information and data of your patients aren’t compromised.
However, with cyberattacks on the rise all across the globe, protecting your patients’ personal information is more difficult than ever.
Still, whether cybersecurity in the workplace was compromised by negligence, accidentally, or even maliciously, you’ll still be held responsible and have to pay penalties.
And those penalties are often severe, ranging from over $1 million in fines to time behind bars.
In this post, we’ll tell you why cybersecurity in the workplace is so important, especially within the medical field.
We’ll also tell you what you can do to make sure your patients — and your practice — are protected.
Why Cybersecurity In The Workplace Matters
No matter what line of work you’re in, cybersecurity is incredibly important in today’s world.
Even if you think that your current cybersecurity measures are up to date, you might be surprised to find out just how quickly hacker’s methods can evolve.
Plus, you never know when a disgruntled ex-employee will take out his anger on your patients’ information.
Let’s take a look at just a few of the many potential consequences of violating HIPPA laws and the penalties associated with information released through cyber attacks.
You’ll Lose Your Patients’ Trust
Imagine if the most personal information about you, your health, and even your finances were posted all over the Internet for everyone to see.
In addition to feeling humiliated and violated, you would likely never be able to trust the person or company who had compromised your information again. You’d probably also call as many of your family members, friends, and coworkers as possible to discourage them from visiting that same doctor.
That’s exactly what will happen to the medical practice you’ve spent so much time building if you underestimate the importance of cybersecurity in the workplace.
Your practice’s reputation will be completely destroyed, and you’ll start to lose patients faster than you could imagine.
Plus, you’ll have to live with the guilt of knowing you were the one responsible for letting someone’s personal information fall into the wrong hands.
You’ll Be Subject To Serious Penalties
If the ethical concerns aren’t enough to scare you into taking cybersecurity in the workplace seriously, maybe the heavy fines and potential jail time will do the trick.
The costs of violating HIPAA laws are tiered, and your punishment and fines will depend on the level of negligence involved. But even if the violation wasn’t caused by intentional neglect, you’ll still have to pay a fine.
For example, even if the violation was caused by willful neglect but still corrected quickly, you’ll still be charged anywhere from $10,000-$50,000 per violation.
Further, even if the medical professional accidentally and unknowingly violated HIPAA laws, they can still face fines from $100-$50,000 for every violation.
Imagine how quickly those numbers could go up in the event of a large data breach, where the information of tens or even hundreds of patients was compromised.
That’s just not a situation you want to find yourself in.
In terms of jail time, knowingly committing a HIPPA violation carries a jail sentence of up to one year. Additionally, violating a HIPPA law for personal gain can mean you’re looking at up to ten years behind bars.
What Can You Do To Protect Yourself And Your Patients?
Now that you know a little bit more about why cybersecurity in the workplace matters, it’s time to talk about what you can do to make sure you have the proper security measures in place.
First, embrace the idea of ongoing compliance training in your practice. In most cases, mandatory compliance training is required, but there’s no reason why you wouldn’t go above and beyond.
Make sure your employees know that you have an open door policy when it comes to both asking questions about HIPPA laws and reporting unlawful behavior.
Make training as accessible as possible. Look into online compliance training, so that your employees can do it on their own time. Also, frequently hang posters or send out emails to your team with privacy reminders.
Let your staff know that it’s just as important to remind patients and those who accompany them about the laws that are in place to protect them.
Get A HIPPA Risk Assessment Done
The number one reason why you need to get a HIPPA risk assessment done?
Because you’re legally obligated to.
But even if you’ve completed your formal risk assessment, it’s always a good idea to conduct routine reviews. This will help you to figure out whether or not the current software you use it up-to-date. It will also take into account new updates to the laws, and help you to identify new risks to your practice.
You’ll also be able to prioritize the risks in your practice and figure out which ones you need to pay the most attention to.
However, while conducting risk assessment and general reviews are important to do on your own, many also choose to bring in a third party to help.
Just like medical professionals do before a diagnosis, sometimes it’s smarter to get a second opinion when it comes to cybersecurity in the workplace.
Looking For HIPAA Compliance Solutions For Your Practice?
Thanks to this post, you’re now much more aware of why cybersecurity in the workplace is so important, as well as the penalties you could face for ignoring it.
You need to prove that you are compliant with HIPAA laws at all time, which can get complicated.
Don’t panic. Instead, rely on us to help you.
We offer complete HIPAA compliance in one package. We provide risk assessment, documentation, training for your staff, remediation for problems identified, and much more.
Don’t let your patients and your practice remain at risk for one more day. Instead, get in touch with us as soon as you’re ready.