Healthcare Data Security: How to Protect Sensitive Patient Health Information?

Healthcare Data Security

The healthcare industry is evolving and adopting new technologies rapidly. Predominantly, IT solutions, are used to assist both doctors and patients equally, and to improve the delivery of healthcare services at the same time. The most important segment of a hospital information system today is the Electronic Health Record (EHR), where patients’ health information (PHI) is stored. 

Concerns regarding consumers’ data privacy have been the top priority in the healthcare sector for quite some time. The healthcare industry deals with an incredible amount of information that is constantly being transferred and accessible to consumers, and simultaneously being obtained from end-users. This is of major concern when it comes to patient health information. 

Although health-related information is that sensitive information those are only protected by federal regulations explicitly if it is collected by healthcare facilities like hospitals, pharmacies, insurance companies, or physicians’ offices. Data entered manually into a healthcare app, or allowing an app to track your steps, estimate heart rate, etc. is not protected by such regulations.  

Healthcare Data Security

 So how can healthcare organizations protect private and sensitive patient information from cyber criminals?  

Take a look at the following five methods to make patients’ health information secure healthcare data security

1. Encrypt All Patient Data

Healthcare organizations have steadily switched from a paper-based ecosystem to a paperless one bringing in more and more mobile devices to their practices, such as smart phones and tablets, which gives them quick access to online resources thus allowing them to access patient data remotely.

With this increased use of mobile device in healthcare, the need for encrypting data is more important than ever before. If a healthcare professional’s phone or laptop is misplaced or left unattended, anyone could easily access the un-encrypted data, putting patients’ privacy at risk. Encrypting patient health information helps to tackle such situation and ensure a safer healthcare environment. 

2. Train Your Employees

Educating your employees on cyber security best practices is essential for your organization’s healthcare data security. Employees are like housekeepers, determining what data comes in and what goes out. Help them understand the critical role they play in protecting patients’ sensitive data and educate them on the risks and consequences of cyber-attacks. 

Equipping people with the knowledge and skills to defend against cyber-attack should be a key focus of your cyber-protection strategy. Train employees to identify and flag in their email communication, as it is one of the most common methods used to spread attacks. Phishing emails can be difficult to detect but misspelled words, links, or domain names will usually reveal a fraudulent message. 

In the process of educating the team on securing patient data, implement certain guidelines to govern how they handle data such as password sharing and requirement of multi-factor authentication to access files, to further protect patients’ privacy. 

3. Use Advance Technology And Software

As cyber-attacks have evolved over the years, so should your software & technology. Keeping the software updated helps to defend against cyber-attacks, and implement certain advanced digital tools, like firewalls, antivirus protection, and digital signatures to help improve your organization’s cyber security. 

With digital signatures, patients can complete, sign, and submit documents online. Not only does this save time for both the patient and the healthcare provider but also, it’s more secure. Instead of putting that sensitive information on paper-based processes, which is hard to handle, it can be securely uploaded to a cloud-based system that can only be viewed by authorized users.

Few digital signature technologies allow you to comply with HIPAA regulations, so it’s important to look for a technology platform that includes identity verification, tamper-proof evidence, and a comprehensive audit trail report that records each step of the signing process. 

4. Vet Your Software Vendors

Healthcare facilities rely on different software vendors to handle various processes like billing, document management, CLM software, and more, so making sure their security standards meet yours. Before selecting a new software vendor, identify the key privacy and security features your organization needs, and choose a vendor that is equip with those standards. 

5. Limit Your Data Footprint

It’s common for healthcare organizations to keep more than one copy of documents containing confidential information, and sometimes unnecessary copies are also maintained outside of the enterprise’s control as they are handled by several people within the organization.

Adopting digital signature solutions in the healthcare ecosystem enables flexibility and security as digital signature vendors frequently store signed documents which can be used for future references and also to ensure signature’s legal validity on the go. With a digital signature solution for healthcare, you can limit your data footprint and prevent the risk of data accessibility by unauthorized users. 

Key Benefits to Patients for using Interoperable Digital Signatures Solution for Healthcare 

Benefits of Digital Signatures Solution for Healthcare  

Key solution features of effective integrated healthcare systems: 

 Patients can use Certinal’s enterprise-grade digital signature solution to securely digitally sign documents. Using the solution, patients can: Key features of healthcare system

Sensitive data collection is a major concern that is not going away anytime soon as both personal and professional lives become increasingly centered around technology and health data sharing. The risks of a cyber-attack can’t be ignored, especially when patients’ privacy is on the line. By implementing these steps, healthcare organizations can defend themselves against costly data breaches and focus on what they do best in serving patients. 

Certinal is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Zycus, the pioneer in Cognitive Procurement. A familiar name and market leader with years of experience in managing critical contracts & agreements, Zycus boasts of over Fortune 1000 enterprise clients and deployments of procurement and sourcing suite of products. Digital Signing has always been a focus area for Zycus. Thus, Certinal was born with the stated goal of offering a best-in-class Digital Transaction Management solution that will be easy-to-use, 100% secure to deploy, and legally compliant around the world.

We stand committed to providing a one-stop solution to large enterprise customers, compliant with various security standards and conforming to different regional regulations. Improving the patient experience to drive greater efficiency for your healthcare practices is as simple as streamlining the manual processes that affects your patients, physicians, and employees. 

Spend more time with patients, not manual processes. Learn more about Certinal’s healthcare solutions. There has never been a better time to upgrade your current eSignature process or implement HIPAA-compliant digital signatures. See what the best digital signature technology can do for your business by scheduling a demo.

Recommended Read

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  2. 3 Proven Strategies for Improving Workflow in Healthcare with Technology Integration
  3. 4 Top-notch Strategies For Digital Transformation in Healthcare: Discover, Learn and Deliver
author avatar
Aritra is an experienced marketing professional with over five years of expertise in various industries. He specializes in brand management, campaign design, demand generation, marketing process optimization, and PR. Aritra holds a master’s degree from Bennett University, and he has actively contributed to several student initiatives during his time there.
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