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As a healthcare professional, you know the importance of protecting sensitive data. Electronic health records (EHRs) store patients’ personal and medical information, and it’s imperative that this information is safeguarded. You’re also tasked with protecting confidential financial information. The consequences of fumbling data security for healthcare offices can be DEVASTATING – whether you’re serving client populations measuring dozens or thousands.

Without data protection for healthcare offices, data loss can hinder patient treatment and real-time access to documents indefinitely. Leaked medical and financial data can result in fines and lawsuits. What’s more, it may take years to rebuild your office’s damaged reputation.

Let’s Be Proactive with Healthcare Data Protection

Let’s take measures to ensure ALL patient data is protected. Here are some tips for data protection for healthcare offices: 

1. Use Encryption 

Encrypting sensitive data is a critical step in data protection. Encryption converts data into a coded language to protect it from unauthorized access. By encrypting patient data, healthcare offices can ensure that even if a cybercriminal gains access to the data, they won’t be able to read it.

2. Train Employees on Data Protection 

We can’t stress this enough. Training employees on basic cybersecurity and data protection is crucial. We highly recommend training on phishing scams, specifically. They’re crafty. They infiltrate networks by preying on unsuspecting victims, who may not be able to tell at a glance if a link is legitimate.

Many of your healthcare employees are certified experts, no question. Your client-facing staff (like receptionists and physician assistants) and behind-the-scenes team members (like transcriptionists and office managers) have an extensive education. But that DOESN’T MEAN they intuitively know the depths of technology and cyber threats evolving daily. All employees need to understand the importance of data protection, how to identify and report potential security incidents, and how to use secure systems and devices. 

3. Implement Access Controls 

Not everyone in the healthcare office needs access to all patient data. Access controls ensure that only authorized personnel can access sensitive data. Implementing role-based access control can limit data access to only those who need it. 

There are three types of access control:

  • Role-based access control – uses roles within an organization to determine access (ex. – administrative, medical professional, and office staff.)
  • Context-centric access control – uses the nature of access (ex. – all data restricted outside of business hours.)
  • Data-centric access control – users the type accessed requested (ex. – data retrieved only using a certain application.)

4. Backup Data Regularly 

Backing up data regularly is essential for protecting patient records and other privileged organizational information. Regular backups ensure that in the event of a security incident, data loss or all-out system failure, the data can be recovered. Healthcare offices should have a data backup and recovery plan in place and test it regularly. 

5. Conduct Regular Risk Assessments 

Regular risk assessments identify potential vulnerabilities in the healthcare office’s data protection system. By identifying these vulnerabilities, healthcare offices can take proactive measures to address them and prevent potential data breaches. Taken a step further, cyber threat hunting actively seeks threats before they become a problem.

6. Secure Mobile Devices & Other Endpoints

Securing mobile devices and endpoints is crucial for data protection in healthcare offices. It’s important to see every device – from personal smartphones to company laptops – that access your network as a potential endpoint for exploitation. Do you know FOR SURE if every endpoint is secure, especially on a vast network that may include tens of thousands of devices?

Some simple steps and policies:

  • Locking your mobile device when not in use
  • Use caller protection apps like Burner and Firewall
  • Avoid public charging ports,
  • Regularly update your mobile device software, 
  • Use two-factor authentication (2FA) for added verification
  • Turn off Bluetooth and WiFi when not in use

By implementing these measures, healthcare professionals can establish a robust first line of defense to safeguard sensitive data.

7. Evaluate Security & Compliance of Healthcare Partners

It’s not just what you do internally. Healthcare is a complex system that increasingly involves numerous professionals (and professional offices) coordinating multiple points in the continuum of care. Sharing patient data is essential, even necessary. The way other offices approach their handling of confidential information should inform your partnerships and network-building.

Regularly evaluating and ensuring the security practices of healthcare associates and others involved in patient care is vital. The HIPAA Survival Guide is a valuable resource with helpful insights.

Data Protection for Healthcare Providers: Some Tips & Tricks

One of the best ways to ensure data protection in healthcare offices is through managed IT. Managed IT providers offer comprehensive IT services including managed cybersecurity, data backup and recovery, and more. With managed IT solutions, healthcare offices can focus on providing quality patient care, while their tech needs are taken care of. 

Data protection for healthcare providers is critical. 

To operate efficiently – and SAFELY – your organization must now find ways to ensure data is always protected. For healthcare offices needing advice or an updated system to meet new demands, call Acme Business at (716) 372-1325 and connect with us on LinkedIn. Our experts can create a specialized system fitting your unique cybersecurity needs.