Why You Need a HIPAA Security Breach Response Team

It’s more common nowadays for patients to use technology at the doctors. Today, healthcare providers use electronic sign-in forms and databases more than ever.

The advancement of technology has certainly made things easier for doctors and patients. Yet, the more we use technology as a society, the more we put ourselves at risk for hacks and data breaches.

As of 2015, hackers caused 98% of healthcare-related data breaches. Medical offices and hospitals have become bigger targets in just the last few years. Which is why there is a greater need for HIPAA security breach response teams.

What are the benefits of preparing for security attacks and data breaches? Why should you invest in a security breach response team?

We’ll explore that in this article.

Understanding the Importance of HIPAA

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) came into action in 1996. HIPAA protects patients by restricting access to private medical information.

HIPAA protects the confidentiality of people’s medical information.

When a security breach on a medical office or hospital occurs, it’s a breach of HIPAA. Medical offices and hospitals are ultimately responsible for this.

That’s because HIPAA contracts are legally required. Anytime a business handles patient information, a HIPAA contract is required. This pertains to any medical office that generates, maintains, receives, or transmits information.

There are exceptions to when a medical office can share a patient’s medical information. This usually only occurs between medical offices. Patients must sign and agree to this.

Protected entities must receive notification when any changes occur to a HIPAA agreement.

With that said, both parties must uphold the HIPAA agreement. Part of an agreement entails notifying patients anytime their information becomes compromised.

Hackers Are Targeting Medical Offices & Hospitals

80 million people insured by Anthem had their personal information stolen in 2015. This information included their names, social security numbers, birthdays, and employment histories.

The Anthem breach came after healthcare companies lost 42.5% of their data to hacks and breaches in 2014. Luckily, patient medical information was not compromised. However, under HIPAA, pieces of information like names and birthdays are still considered covered by the act.

The Anthem breach exemplified a lack of preparedness on behalf of healthcare providers. Since 2014, more data breaches have occurred to medical offices and hospitals.

Many of these data breaches involved ransomware. Ransomware is a type of software that threatens to publish sensitive information until a ransom is paid. Ransomware attacks not only occur in the United States but in Canada and Britain, as well.

Because these types of attacks occur more frequently, there’s a greater need for security breach response teams.

A Security Breach Is a Health Risk

When a security and data breach occurs, it may be harder to access a patient’s medical information. If this happens, patients may not be able to access their own medical information, receive prescriptions, or get test results back.

That’s not all. After a data breach, healthcare providers may not be able to access patient information. If this happens, they may not be able to provide care without the necessary information.

For example, under HIPAA, a medical office must protect a patient’s emergency contact information. If this information changes or becomes stolen, you may not be able to get a hold of a patient’s contact in case of an emergency.

You’re Responsible

Anytime medical information becomes compromised electronically, it’s considered a security breach. When a breach occurs, medical offices, doctors, and hospitals must notify their patients.

With a breach response team, you’ll not only be able to identify attacks and hacks sooner. You’ll also be able to notify your patients sooner and uphold your end of the HIPAA agreement.

Recovery Is Expensive

Suffering from a security breach is not cheap. In fact, companies that have suffered data breaches and security attacks have had to pay millions of dollars to recover their data.

The longer that an attack goes unnoticed, the more extensive the damage will be. And the more extensive the damage, the more expensive it will be to recover.

Many small businesses go under as a result of data breaches. Hospitals and medical offices are no exception. By investing in a HIPAA security response team, you can receive notification right away.

That way, you can avoid hefty legal and recovery fees down the line and work towards coming up with the most cost-effective solution.

Hackers Are Becoming More Sophisticated

Despite improvements in how security breach teams handle hacks, there is no end in sight. Unfortunately, hackers are becoming more sophisticated and malicious with their attacks.

Hackers may start to threaten to change patient information in exchange for ransom. Others may threaten to publish patient information. Some experts believe that hackers may even begin to hack into medical devices and take over them.

A security response team will not only help you immediately after an attack. They’ll be able to help you in other types of attacks now and in the future.

Protect Your Reputation

A HIPAA security breach is not only damaging to your medical office or hospital in a financial sense. It’s also damaging to your reputation.

Nobody wants their information protected under HIPAA to become compromised. Even if a security attack never happens, your patients want to feel like they can always trust you.

If their data becomes compromised, they won’t be the only ones to lose trust in you. The public and potential patients also won’t be able to trust you.

Be a Better Healthcare Provider By Protecting Your Patients

Don’t let a data breach or security attack happen to you. By investing in a security response team, you can protect the integrity of your business.

To learn more about how a security response team can help you, contact us today!

HIPAA Security Reminders

 

HIPAA Security Suite has developed a weekly HIPAA Security Reminder series that’s FREE for all of us who are responsible for, or engaged in, the use and protection of PHI.

Pursuant to Section 164.308(a)(5) of the HIPAA Security Rule, the Standard states: Implement a security awareness and training program for all members of its workforce (including management).

This standard is part of our Best Practices Recommendations for HIPAA Security Suite users, but it’s available for FREE to anyone who wants to comply with HIPAA using the easiest, best tools available.

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