Cybersecurity and HIPAA Compliance: 5 Ways to Master Both

Published in Member Communities on Wednesday, February 6, 2019

One single attack on your data network can cause chaos to your entire healthcare organization. One update not initiated in time or routine patching skipped can lead to compromised patient data. In addition to clients placing their trust in healthcare organizations to keep them in good health, they are also trusting them to keep their private information protected. In this day and age, the two should go hand in hand. Here are 5 ways to be sure you are mastering both.

  1. Educate Employees

    Your employees likely understand the importance of HIPAA compliance. They have undergone training on how to communicate about patient’s health concerns with others on their healthcare team. However, they may not fully understand the risks they pose to clients when it comes to cybersecurity. One of the best defenses to a cyber attack is employee training. Staff who handle electronically protected health information should be made aware of the risks that can be posed to patients through seemingly harmless behaviors.

  2. Create a System to Bring Your Own Device (BYOD)

    If your employees bring their own mobile devices to and from work, this is certainly a topic of security to be addressed. If employees communicated to one another about patients through their phones, without installing the appropriate security measures, this can be a significant breach of trust and candy to hackers. When they access the network through their device, you need to be certain multi-factor authentication is in place as well as a secure application in which they can access the network. 

  3. Initiate a Physical Defense

    Each time a patient is seen, information about their visit is entered into the computer. Employees need to physically protect these devices by logging out of the system when it is not being used to ensure information is not taken. A protective measure you can take for this is to locks on all screens and devices when they are not being used.

  4. Implement and Review Technical Security

    You may already have a defense system implemented, but it is equally important to continually tighten up your network security. Consider installing encryption software. This encrypts any data sent within the organization, so if a hacker gets ahold of it, it would be nearly impossible to crack. It’s important to remember that unless both the sender and receiver (for example, over email) have encrypted software, it is not adequately protected.

  5. Run Routine Audits
    Stay ahead of the curve by evaluating, recording and examining all security protocols. Have an expert in cybersecurity not only take a look at what you are doing right, but what other vulnerabilities your facility has. 

Protect your organization, your employees and patients by placing HIPAA and cybersecurity at the top of your radar. Reach out today for a vulnerability assessment to see how VGM Technologies can help uphold HIPAA compliance.

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