The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) has typically been the guiding light behind health information security. However, today’s rapidly evolving digital environment continues to prove how easy it is for security to become compromised.
Today’s healthcare organizations face many challenges that simply didn’t exist when HIPAA was first developed. It’s critical that organizations review their health information security as new systems and technology are implemented to ensure they not only remain HIPAA compliant but also protected against potential healthcare data breaches.
Let’s take a closer look at three core health information security considerations that present challenges for healthcare organizations today:
#1 – Trading Point Solutions for a Comprehensive Platform
In health information technology’s earlier days, it was common practice for organizations to deploy point solutions to combat specific issues, particularly as it pertains to protecting patient data. But the effectiveness of adopting a patchwork of point solutions is long over. Now, it’s becoming increasingly important to replace existing point solutions with an all-encompassing platform that is capable of executing your entire strategy.
It’s a challenge that is only now becoming more widely recognized. Most healthcare organizations adopt point solutions because they are feeling a particular type of pain and need to remedy it quickly. But these systems are designed to crunch and deliver small quantities of data to specific users, not the organization as a whole. Think of it as treating individual symptoms of a disease rather than looking at the disease as a whole and how it affects the body.
A more sensible approach is to deploy an interoperable solution that also caters to the individual pain points in an organization. All applications within the platform can draw from the same data sources while also providing a high level of security for users and patients alike.
#2 – Protecting Electronic Health Information
With developments in mobile technology, ransomware, remote connections, and electronic medical records (i.e. all the top concerns in healthcare), protecting electronic health information has never been more critical. Mobile devices alone have introduced a higher level of vulnerability to data attacks, and healthcare organizations are left scrambling to fill gaps in defense.
The entire way that healthcare business is conducted has shifted in recent years, and mobile capability has had a lot to do with it. Ransomware attacks are impossible to foresee or completely prevent. The Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) movement has also opened up new potential for data attacks.
We’re well beyond the point of no return when it comes to using mobile and remote technology in healthcare. The focus now is on understanding the vulnerabilities associated with technology and how you can best protect your organization. Having complete data backup and a recovery plan doesn’t prevent an attack, but it can help to mitigate costs and other damages.
#3 – The IoT Has Redefined the Term ‘Computer’
Medical devices, such as pacemakers and insulin pumps, weren’t considered health information security threats a decade ago, but the Internet of Things has changed that. Now, implantable or wearable medical devices are constantly collecting and transmitting patient health data, and these things can be vulnerable to data attacks.
In short, the entire definition of “computer” has been rewritten. Information security doesn’t stop with laptops and desktops, but includes all devices that have a connection to the internet.
Improving Health Information Security
The way we handle health information security will continue to evolve as new technology and their subsequent threats surface. Find out more about how Lifepoint solutions are changing the way organizations are collecting, leveraging, and protecting patient data.