If you work in medicine, you know that HIPAA is one of the most important pieces of legislation to follow. Failing to maintain HIPAA security compliance can result in devastating consequences. It can cost practices thousands of dollars in litigation, and forever damage their reputation.
Part of staying compliant with the law is healthcare cybersecurity. It involves keeping information about patients’ health and finances as secure as possible. By doing so, patients can trust doctors and practices can care for people.
Keep reading below to learn about why cybersecurity is so important with providers, and how important HIPAA is.
Protecting Patient Information Comes in Many Forms
When it comes to protecting patient information, health care leaders need to take several steps. In the olden days, they used to be able to keep patient records under lock and key in a drawer. More information is now kept on servers and hard drives than physical records.
Since information is digital now, there are more ways for hackers and thieves to access it. Hackers are always looking for new ways to exploit vulnerabilities in popular systems. Sometimes, that involves finding bugs in code or tricking people.
It is up to healthcare leaders and security experts to predict ways hackers may try to steal information. They need to constantly develop new ways to make sure thieves aren’t able to access private information. It’s stressful, but it’s important to stay in compliance with HIPAA regulations.
HIPAA Compliance Requires More Than Cybersecurity
Staying compliant with HIPAA is hard. Healthcare practices need to do more than put passwords on their computers. They need to invest in security programs installed across their systems.
They also need to make sure staff understands how to protect patient information.
This involves testing staff members and making sure they don’t fall for phishing attempts to other kinds of hacks. It also means restarting systems so they get the latest updates and protections from vulnerabilities. HIPAA compliance is ongoing and active — you can fall out of compliance in a day if you’re not careful.
To stay compliant, stay vigilant against threats. If you take security seriously and take steps to protect your patients’ information, you will be okay. And if the worst happens, you will be able to prove that you tried your best and did everything you could.
Healthcare Cybersecurity is Fundamental to Any Practice
HIPAA is not just another law that practices are expected to arbitrarily follow. Instead, it is a way to make sure that people can trust the ones who provide them care, enhancing their treatments. If patients do not trust their doctors, they may not give them all the information they need.
And without that information, doctors will not be able to give people the care they need. By staying in compliance with HIPAA, patients know that you are doing everything in your power to help them. They will know they can provide delicate and sensitive information, confident that it will stay private.
And so, you will be able to fully treat them and make sure they get healthy. Staying in compliance with HIPAA helps you find more success in your treatments, which reflects well on your practice. Just by following HIPAA standards, you can help improve your brand and grow your business.
Cybersecurity and HIPAA Compliance Are the Same
Cybersecurity is a complicated topic, and it can be hard to fully grasp the intricate details that go into it. Doctors simply aren’t trained on how to spot man-in-the-middle attacks or identify strange network activity. They certainly aren’t taught how to handle zero-day exploits either.
Luckily, you don’t need a degree in cybersecurity to keep information safe. You just need to follow the guidance of people who do study it. Their advice usually boils down to some simple principles, and most of them focus on trust.
Never give information to a person or a website you don’t fully trust. You should also never click on suspicious links in an email, and make sure to activate two-factor authorization. Also, you should make sure your staff is aware of common cybersecurity practices too.
You can achieve this through some HIPAA compliance training. You can also sign your staff up for online HIPAA training, so they can finish it on their own time and it doesn’t interfere with their schedules.
The HITECH Act Made Practices High-Tech
The HITECH Act was passed as a way to achieve similar goals to HIPAA. The legislation encourages healthcare providers to adopt digital systems to achieve several goals. For example, the act encourages providers to adopt digital systems to stay in constant communication with patients.
However, by adopting digital systems providers can also open themselves up to new risks with HIPPA compliance. So, the act includes a section that provides grants and loans funding to help providers. It also describes ways providers can improve privacy, and improve their compliance with other laws.
Different Practices Require Different Kinds of Security
It doesn’t matter what kind of practice you are what kind of medicine you practice — patient information must be protected. Some kinds of practices may want to focus on protecting information more than others, though. For example, many patients may not worry too much about information from annual checkups.
Yet, mental health providers speak with patients on intimate levels. These kinds of providers usually uncover information that doctors do not reveal during a checkup. And so, they may want to protect patient records more than other kinds of practices.
By doing so, they establish a deeper level of trust with patients which can be conducive to relationships with them. They trust that their doctors will make sure information is never revealed to the public.
Stay Safe With HIPAA Compliance Training
Healthcare cybersecurity involves many moving parts. Organizations need to train staff on how to keep their systems safe, and how to handle patient information. It also requires leaders to stay connected to the tech world, routinely updating their systems so they stay safe from hackers.
It can be complicated and trying to maintain HIPAA compliance can consume all the time they have in a day. It’s best to reach out to experts for help, so they can focus on helping people instead. And for that, we’re here.
Just reach out to us, and we will make sure your practice is protected from hackers and your patient’s information is safe.