Securing personal health information (PHI) to maintain Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and other regulatory compliance can be a challenging task. Doing so while ensuring patients feel welcome and confident in your organization’s data security practices is even more challenging.
The Challenge of PHI Compliance
A recent report found that there is at least one breach per day involving health data, highlighting the need to not only maintain but also increase PHI compliance. The report found that in January 2017 alone, there were 35 instances of health data breaches involving more than 387,000 records. More than ever, healthcare providers need to be vigilant about data security.
What You Can Do to Improve PHI Compliance
Your organization can better secure PHI through implementing several measures:
- Undergo an IT audit—A comprehensive and objective audit of your organization’s security posture can identify compliance deficiencies, highlight risks associated with any security gaps, and give you actionable steps to remediate any security shortcomings.
- Conduct ongoing training—Ongoing security and PHI compliance training is the best defense against social engineering attacks. Ensure your staff is regularly updated on security and compliance best practices and protocols.
- Proactively work to discover and report data breaches—Don’t fall victim to additional fees and brand damage by failing to discover and report breaches. Through in-house resources or via third-party security experts, implement a solution that helps prevent, discover, and report potential breaches in real-time.
Earn Your Patients’ Trust
With headlines regularly reporting data security breaches, patients are no longer naïve about the dangers of weak data security. However, it can be difficult to implement strict compliance processes without alienating or unduly frightening patients. To earn and keep patients’ trust, clearly and repeatedly inform them of how certain business processes help reinforce the security of their data. Communication will help alleviate suspicion while building their confidence in your company’s security processes.
Ongoing Efforts Pay Off
Healthcare providers and any organization that handles PHI must continually work to maintain compliance and keep data secure. Through ongoing efforts, such as a third-party IT audits, and clear communication about your security policies and processes, you can assuage patient fears while protecting their data.