Continual advancements in technology are being made to secure sensitive patient data. That’s the good news. Now for the not-so-good news: Thieves are working just as diligently to access data as you are in trying to protect it.

That’s why it’s critical to have well-documented procedures for data management, both internally and externally. Here are four steps to help you prevent patient health information (PHI) from falling into the wrong hands.

DEVELOP A CULTURE OF SECURITY. This requires corporate-wide buy-in. From the CEO and board members to office staff and data managers, everyone must understand the importance of mitigating risk. Make sure your business has a point person responsible for driving a culture through the deployment of effective employee communications, documented data management procedures and security-driven technology resources.

EDUCATE EMPLOYEES. Your data is only safe if staff understands the importance of protecting confidential information. Create employee-training programs, and make sure everyone understands data security is their number one priority. You’re not trying to scare anyone; you’re simply stressing the importance of accountability.

IMPLEMENT A RISK ASSESSMENT PROGRAM. While you may think your PHI is protected, remember that hackers are continually finding new ways to access data. A one-and-done approach to evaluating risk is no longer effective. Even annual reviews leave you exposed to potential breaches. It’s best to conduct risk analysis regularly to ensure you’re not overlooking potential gaps.

PARTNER WITH HITRUST CERTIFIED PROVIDERS. The Health Information Trust Alliance, or HITRUST, and its Common Security Framework (CSF), is a certification process that, as of March 31, 2018, will be required by all leading healthcare organizations in handling PHI and measuring information protection proficiency. Providers with HITRUST CSF certification can address risk potential through a flexible framework of prescriptive and scalable security controls.

To learn more about our HITRUST commitment, contact us. We look forward to serving you and protecting your interests.

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