Healthcare data security has come to the forefront as the world moved to online transactions and communication. For a DME/HME, successfully meeting patient requirements is central to business survival and growth. Recent reports state that hackers have been accessing personal information using tactics such as phishing to steal personal data even from insurance companies. However, a report on msn.com says that learning how to protect information ahead of time could save small business owners thousands and even millions in the future.
Listed below are five considerations that can help independent healthcare practices secure medical data.
- Focusing on HIPAA compliance
HIPAA governs patient information and disclosure. It is designed to prevent unauthorized dissemination of sensitive information without patient consent. HIPAA compliance helps ensure that relevant information is used to provide quality healthcare to patients.
DME/HMEs can help by implementing data use policies while emphasizing commitment to uncompromised patient data privacy. Complete assurance can include signing non-disclosure agreements and service level agreements.
- Implementing on-site security
On-site or physical security, including guards and surveillance cameras, is one method of boosting security for the premises and information contained in computer systems and in paper format on the premises. Premise safety, including fire safety and burglar alarms, need to be taken into consideration.
This can prove to be challenging for startups and small businesses because of the capital investment needed in staffing and infrastructure.
- Implementing data security measures
All software and hardware that is used to store and access data must be periodically checked for security settings. Security testing includes checks for malware and internal vulnerabilities and hacking and data breaches.
All equipment should be consistently monitored and upgraded to secure versions, including weaving in security patches.
Additionally, robust and reliable back-up of all information is recommended, in case system failure occurs. Back-up needs to be taken every day to ensure that any information or transaction, however minor, is not lost.
- Authorizing access and minimizing human error
Limiting access to information by authorizing only select people to see sensitive patient data also works towards securing information without risking it to loss or theft. However, this can prove challenging to a small business, where the owners and operators multi-task. While this limits people automatically, it also leaves the field open to greater chance of human error. Multi-tasking can create vulnerabilities and an increased chance for human error, leaving information open to hackers and data breaches.
- Proofing the network
Network safety is critical and can be implemented with the help of authorizations. These authorizations include passwords that are regularly changed and multiple-level security. This may be achieved from a combination of encryption techniques and passwords, along with access authorization to select people within the business.
Building secure operations
For startup or small DME/HME businesses, it is important to plan and execute clear outlines on data security matters. Information shared by patients when accessing health care equipment is critical to the DME/HME because it helps them get paid for services rendered. Hiring professional billing help is the first step to ensuring security of this data. Professional assistance, including a DME partnership, enables healthcare businesses to continue meeting patient requirements without worrying about the high costs involved in setting up in-depth data security measures. Professional or outsourced medical billing provides expertise in billing. It also streamlines the operations for the DME/HME, building in a layer of security for data that allows the DME/HME operators to be sure of its reliability.