Any profession in the healthcare industry comes with a heightened awareness for online security. If you work in the medical field, being HIPAA compliant is absolutely crucial to maintain patient security and avoid legal penalties. Not only has it become increasingly more difficult to follow HIPAA security guidelines, but you may be violating HIPAA without even knowing it. Here are some common violations to avoid:
Failure to Encrypt Data
First and foremost, all patient and medical data must be encrypted. Encryption adds an extra barrier of security if a computer, laptop, thumb drive or other device is compromised. ICC can help with data encryption.
Weak or No Antivirus Software
Hospitals, dental offices and other healthcare businesses must be on the constant lookout for security breaches. It is crucial to stay one step ahead of cybercriminals by installing high quality antivirus software and updating or upgrading it regularly. We also recommend the use of a firewall for an additional layer of protection.
Viewing Patient Data on Home Devices
No matter how pressing an issue is, healthcare professionals must refrain from accessing patient data on personal computers. Chances are good that your home computer will not have the same amount of digital security as work devices, so it’s best to not risk a potential breach.
Posting on Social Media or Website
While it is common sense to not post sensitive health records in a public place, many healthcare employees may not know that it is a violation of HIPAA to post casual, noninvasive photos of patients on social channels or elsewhere online. Even if it seems harmless, never post an employee photo or other information about them online.
Failure to Train Employees Properly
A workplace is only as strong as its least-informed employee. Executing extensive security measures will only be effective if all employees are educated on HIPAA guidelines and company procedures. It is important to host regular training sessions to refresh employees on current processes and update them on new ones.
Improper Third Party Disclosure
HIPAA compliancy isn’t just for those working directly in a hospital or dental office. Any third party – such as a pharmacy, insurance company, law office, etc. – that is in contact with a medical organization is also responsible for following HIPAA guidelines. The original healthcare provider is responsible for these third parties’ actions, so be sure they are educated on HIPAA regulations and enforce them in their own businesses.
HIPAA compliancy is not to be taken lightly. Unfortunately, we’ve ran into many cases where HIPAA regulations were not handled properly (even from companies using an IT firm!), and failure to follow these regulations can land organizations and employees in serious legal trouble. Rest assured, if you choose ICC we will meet and follow HIPAA protocols properly and stay up to date on any changes. Have any questions about maintaining HIPAA requirements? Give ICC a call at 970-419-0602 today.