4 Steps Hospitals Should Take to Prevent Patient Information Breaches

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Experts believe that over 90 percent of all healthcare organizations have experienced a data breach in the last two years, and that is costing the industry over $5.6 billion a year. Many of these breaches are the result of carelessness or outdated software, and that means you must constantly be looking for new ways to prevent patient data leaks. Here are four steps that all hospitals need to take to boost their digital security and avoid potential lawsuits.

Analyze Current Security Risks

The first step in this process is to take a closer look at where your data is stored and how well that information is protected. That includes any personal devices that can access patient data. If you don’t have your own IT department, then you will most likely need to hire an outside firm that can conduct a security audit. Their report will tell you exactly what you can do to better protect patient information.

Update All Software

One of the easiest ways to protect sensitive data is to make sure that all of your devices are updated as often as possible. For most healthcare organizations, scheduling updates once a week should be sufficient. While some of these updates might not seem vital, they could be patching up security vulnerabilities that the developers have recently found. Most devices can easily be set up to automatically update during your slowest hours so that it won’t interrupt your business.

Be Wary of Social Media

Many hospital admins don’t realize just how dangerous social media can be when used improperly. Even information that seems relatively harmless could result in a HIPAA breach. All official social media accounts must be carefully monitored, and only trained employees should have access to them. Anything that is posted to the official social media accounts should be thoroughly scrutinized before it is approved.

Establish an Employee Training Program

From your brand new intern to floor manager with a doctorate degree in nursing, a breach can happen at any level. That is why every single person on your staff must undergo digital security training. These courses only take a few hours to complete, and they will include information such as how to create strong passwords and what should be done if a device that has sensitive data is stolen. Some IT firms offer comprehensive training programs specifically for larger corporations such as hospitals and medical firms.

Even relatively small healthcare organizations might be targeted by cybercriminals hundreds of times a year. With the proper security in place, you can drastically reduce your risk of a major patient breach that tarnishes your name and costs you millions.