Healthcare IT Compliance – How To Support It With Data Security?
Data security in the healthcare business is a most challenging task. Healthcare professionals and their business contacts must balance safeguarding patient privacy and providing high-quality patient safety while adhering to HIPAA and other rules, such as the EU’s GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation). Because PHI (protected health information) is among a user’s most sensitive & valuable private data, the guidance for healthcare professionals and other organizations that manage, use, or transfer patient information include stringent criteria that carry hefty penalties and fines if not met. As regulatory standards for healthcare data security become more stringent, healthcare companies that adopt a proactive attitude to establishing healthcare cybersecurity best practices will be better able to maintain compliance and will be less able to undergo exclusive data fissures. Rather than requiring specific technologies, HIPAA needs covered entities to make sure data is secure, available only to authorized individuals, and used only for official purposes. Still, it is up to each relevant authority to determine what safety precautions to utilize to achieve these goals.
The Rise Of Healthcare
The rising use of health records contributes to increased healthcare hazards and data breaches. According to a study, criminal assaults have surged by 125% since 2010 and are now the primary source of healthcare data theft. Furthermore, healthcare companies are often unprepared to safeguard patient data in an ever-changing spectrum of security risks. Ponemon surveyed 91 entities covered by HIPAA and 84 business associates (vendors and other organizations that handle patient data), finding that 89% had experienced a healthcare data breach. A complete 50% of those breaches are attributable to criminal liability attacks.
Most breaches were small, impacting fewer than 500 patient records, but some were large and costly. The usual toll of healthcare statistics breaches disrupting a healthcare organization linking 2014 and 2015 was $2.2 million, while breaches impacting business associates averaged over $1 million. Healthcare organizations and business communications must employ wide-ranging security measures. This is to safeguard patient data from a growing number and diversity of threats to secure data from hackers appropriately. Wireless network vulnerabilities, for example, provide a simple entry point for hackers, even though these networks are vital to healthcare companies, making it much easier to access patient information to enhance care delivery.
What Is Healthcare Data Security?
While all firms are accountable for data security, healthcare is especially so. Because facilities frequently have many workers utilizing multiple devices to access crucial healthcare data, the industry is increasingly vulnerable to hackers. Businesses that link to the vast (IoT) expose themselves to additional risks via web devices that are not as readily protected as their internal network. More critically, for patients who rely on modern medical equipment, correct healthcare data could differ between winning and losing. While connecting these devices to the internet improves healthcare practitioners’ capacity to treat patients, it also increases the danger of cybersecurity risks.
Compliance & Security Are Vital In Healthcare
Because of the sensitivity of healthcare data, the sector bears a special obligation to safeguard cybersecurity ecosystems. As per the HIPAA Journal, healthcare data security is an essential element of the HIPAA Rules. These regulations require covered businesses to develop a risk management program to maintain security. Poor cyber risk management might have severe ramifications if firms fail to follow HIPAA data security regulations. Organizations may face a violation or penalties and reputational harm and commercial losses as a result of an unhappy public.
5 Healthcare Security Data Threats
These are as follows:
- IoMT (The Internet of Medical Things)
- EMR (Electronic medical records)
- DDoS attacks
- Insider threats
How Cyberattacks Risk Patient Privacy & All Other Financial Resources?
Cyberattacks on electronic medical records and other systems endanger patient security and hospital security software because hackers get access to PHI and other sensitive data. Failure to keep patient information secret might result in significant penalties under HIPAA’s Security and Privacy Rules and severe harm to your organization’s image in your community. A deficit of access to medical statistics and critical medical apparatuses, like as soon as a malware virus takes them hostage, will weaken your capacity to care for your patients. Access to sensitive patient data allows hackers to steal the data and purposefully or inadvertently modify the data, which might have significant consequences for patient health and results.
Another instance was when Britain’s National Health Service was hacked in part of May 2017. “WannaCry” malware assaulted systems in 150 countries, diverted ambulances and canceled procedures. Since then, there have been numerous reports of medical redirection orders issued due to ransomware, even here in the United States. This danger, however, may be mitigated with appropriate preparation and investment. “The impact of Heartbleed on American health systems was significantly less catastrophic,” I told Congress last July, “which testifies to the great work the sector has made to strengthen healthcare cybersecurity companies and establish incident-response capabilities.”
6 Steps To Protect Your Healthcare Data
As the volume of healthcare data grows, so do the hazards to data privacy and security. Not only may breaches in security and privacy harm your company’s effectiveness and jeopardize patient connections, but they can also incur significant financial penalties. Data breaches, for example, can result in Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) breach fines of up to $1.5 million per year. Furthermore, unlike in the earlier days, the HIPAA Final Omnibus Guideline now holds you accountable for protecting your patients’ private information such as birth date, medical record number, or Social Security card by needing compliance with a complete overview of audit checkpoints and regulations. Healthcare systems must appropriately record and monitor the flow of medical and non-clinical data to decrease the risk of information mismanagement, dangerous breaches, and substantial hassles. So, what basic measures can you take to avoid such breaches without interrupting your workflows?
Precautionary Measures & Much More
These healthcare cyber security best practices strive to stay up with the expanding threat landscape by tackling risks to privacy protection & managing data protection services on terminals and in the cloud and protecting data while it’s in transportation, at rest, and in use. This needs a multifaceted, smart security strategy. To begin, ensure that your company follows the six recommendations below.
1# Implement Statistics Usage Panels
Healthcare businesses can use records controls to stop definite operations linking sensitive info like illegal email sends, web uploads, moving to external hard drives, or also printing. Data discovery and categorization play a crucial role in this procedure by verifying that sensitive data is recognized and marked appropriately. Protective data restrictions go far beyond the advantages of access control lists and monitoring to guarantee that potentially dangerous or harmful data activity is identified and stopped in real time.
2# Educate Healthcare Personnel
Human error is one of the most severe challenges to security in all businesses, but especially in healthcare. Human mistakes or neglect may have severe and costly effects on healthcare institutions. Security awareness training provides healthcare personnel with the information to make wise decisions and exercise appropriate caution while managing patient data.
3# Use Logging & Monitoring
Logging all access and use data is also critical, allowing providers or business partners to track which people access what information, apps, and other healthcare-managed security services, when, and from which platforms and locations. These records are helpful for auditing reasons, assisting companies in identifying issues of concern and strengthening protective measures as needed. Auditing may allow businesses to identify specific access points, ascertain the cause, and assess damages when an event happens.
4# Restriction Of Data & Application Access
Applying access controls improves healthcare data security by limiting access to health data and specific apps to only those individuals who need it to do their tasks. User authentication is required for access limitations, ensuring that only the user has access to sensitive information. A preferred technique is multi-factor authentication, which requires users to authenticate that they are the person allowed to access data and apps using two or even more validation methods.
5# Encrypt Data In Transit & At Rest
Encryption is among the most effective means of data protection controls for healthcare businesses. Data encryption data in transit or at rest makes it more difficult (preferably unattainable) for attackers to understand patient data even if they obtain access to the information. HIPAA makes recommendations but does not require healthcare organizations to implement encrypting data measures; instead, the rule says it’s up to healthcare professionals and business contacts to determine which data encryption in healthcare techniques and other steps are appropriate and necessary given the organization’s workflow as well as different needs.
6# Reduce The Risks Of Connected Devices
You typically think of mobile phones and tablets when you think about mobile devices. However, with the growth of the IoT, linked devices are taking on a variety of shapes and sizes. Everything from medical gadgets like devices to cameras used to monitor security on the premises may be network-connected in the healthcare industry.
Inclusion Of Mobile Device Security
Healthcare professionals and covered businesses increasingly rely on mobile devices to do business, whether a doctor using a smartphone to obtain information to assist them in treating the patient or an administration worker filing insurance claims. Mobile device security requires a plethora of security methods, including:
- Keeping track of all devices, configurations, and setups
- Making strong passwords mandatory
- Allowing remote wiping and locking of stolen or lost devices
- Application data encryption
- Checking email accounts and files for malware or unwanted data exfiltration
- Educating people on appropriate practices for mobile device security
- Putting standards or allowing listing procedures guarantees that only programs that match pre-defined criteria or have been pre-vetted can be deployed.
- Users must maintain their devices with the most recent operating system and program upgrades.
- Installation of cell security software, like mobile device management solutions, is required.
Perform Regular Risk Assessments
While an audit trail aids in determining the cause and other key facts of an accident after it has occurred, proactive prevention is crucial. Regular evaluations can discover weaknesses or weak spots in a healthcare firm’s security, deficiencies in staff education, shortfalls in vendor and business associate security posture, as well as other issues of concern. By regularly identifying risks across a healthcare organization to perform the activity and mitigate risks, healthcare professionals and their company associates can better prevent expensive security breaches and so many other negative consequences of a data breach, ranging from reputational damage to regulatory penalties.
Store Data In A Secure External Storage
Cyberattacks can disclose sensitive patient info, but they can also endanger the integrity of data or availability ransomware is an example of the importance of its security in healthcare that these occurrences can have. Even a natural catastrophe affecting a healthcare organization’s data center might be devastating if data is not securely backed up. That is why frequent remote data backups are advised, along with stringent controls for encrypting data, access, and other best practices to ensure the security of data backups. External storage data backups are also an important part of disaster recovery.
Examine The Compliance And Security Posture Carefully
Even though healthcare information is progressively being transmitted between suppliers and companies to support payments and deliver care, one of the most important security measures healthcare organizations can take is a cautious evaluation of all prospective business associates. The HIPAA Rule enhanced earlier rules and defined business associate definitions, offering more precise advice on the necessary connections for contracts.
Some examples exist. According to the HIPAA Survival Guide, “overall, a person or organization is a Business Associate only if the person or entity is performing a feature or activity controlled by the HIPAA Rules on behest of a Covered Entity, including such payment or healthcare operations; thus, a researcher is NOT instantly a Business Associate of a Covered Entity, even though it could be using the Covered Entity’s Protected Health Information.”
How To Prevent Data Breaches In Healthcare?
Organizations who are concerned about this security risk should follow the appropriate precautions to safeguard themselves & their electronic health records:
(1) Control Your Information Footprint
While most healthcare companies have a retention timeline, few implement it, especially for electronic data. Organizations must establish retention schedules for paper and cyber information to reduce the loss risk or compromise. The longer this material remains in the digital world, the more likely thieves will gain access to it.
(2) Make an Incident Response Strategy
Each degree of security that a corporation implements raises its chances of preventing a breach. Healthcare businesses may deal with possible security issues more quickly and efficiently by developing an incident response strategy. This enables IT workers to detect suspicious behavior and software flaws before a problem escalates. Above all, an incident response strategy will make gaining access to a firm’s digital environment difficult for a cybercriminal.
Healthcare Today & Beyond!
The solution to healthcare businesses’ extraordinary cyber threat challenge is to establish basic controls that connect with other systems to respond to attacks actively. If a company has adopted solid security procedures and rules, it may be well on the way to achieving compliance and regulatory requirements based on healthcare cybersecurity standards. The experts at Clustox have eons of experience to help and support your development requirements based on the healthcare sector. We have built a lot of software concerning the healthcare sector’s unique security and requirements. Furthermore, with technology being the base – now it’s even more secure and transparent to have medical aid at our doorstep. E-medicine, telehealth, IoT, AI, & ML in healthcare are also enhancing the output and efficiencies of the medical and paramedical staff and medical experts. Connect with us today to design your new healthcare software and see how it can help to protect the masses. Also, don’t miss reading our post focused on 5 Healthcare Technology Trends That Will Shape the Industry in 2022.