The Importance of Data Security in Connected Healthcare

Data security in healthcare is a matter that needs to be taken seriously for benefit of all patients and caregivers. When a healthcare provider does not have proper safeguards to protect their data, there will be a high risk that data could be stolen and used for illegal purposes. For instance, hackers could use the information to steal a patient’s identity or possibly gain access to intimate health details for the purpose of blackmail. The possibilities to abuse unsecured healthcare data is endless and could result in catastrophic problems for victims of stolen data. Rosie Connectivity Solutions offers healthcare providers data management solutions that will not only keep patient data safe but will also increase efficiency in collecting and storing that data. Our team is here to explain the importance of data security in connected healthcare and why you should choose Rosie Connectivity Solutions to manage your healthcare data.

What is Healthcare Data Security?

Now that most if not all healthcare providers have digitized the data of patients and left most paper forms in the past, it is vital that this data is protected. The goal of a data security program is to ensure that digital patient data is secure from potential hackers and other unauthorized users that seek to take advantage of the data. A secure data security system provides safety from those who attempt the illicitly access the data online or in-person.

Sensitive healthcare data could exist in many forms that should be protected in accordance with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). For example, a healthcare provider may have sensitive information about a patient that possesses a sexually transmitted disease that they undoubtedly would like to keep private from outsiders. Even a patient’s vital signs that are frequently recorded may be used to make an inference about their health as a whole. As a result, it is necessary to keep all patient data out of the hands of those who could manipulate it.

As mentioned, there could be a wide variety of issues that may arise from a healthcare data breach. Information that is stolen from healthcare providers could be sold online or used to blackmail patients. Additionally, patients that have their data stolen may seek compensation from the healthcare provider and others that may be responsible. This could lead to thousands of dollars in legal fees and possibly a large monetary judgment if data from hundreds or thousands of patients was stolen.

To learn more about the risks associated with healthcare data breaches, continue reading and consider contacting Rosie Connectivity Solutions to hear how we could your business protect its healthcare data.

Healthcare Data Risk Factors

When it comes to healthcare data, there are a number of ways that a person could gain access to information that is improperly secured. Here are some healthcare data risk factors that every caregiver should be on the lookout for:

Internal Healthcare Data Theft

One of the first risks to healthcare data that should be handled by an employer is ensuring that patient data is not taken by employees or other individuals that could gain access to an onsite computer. Not only is it necessary to properly vet employees, but a healthcare provider should also be sure they are safe from vendors and contractors that could potentially take data from a device. A disgruntled employee or an untrustworthy vendor could cause numerous problems for a healthcare provider and patients that wish for their data to stay private.

Caregivers should also consider the possibility that some patients may seek to gain access to files that do not belong to them. This could easily occur if a healthcare provider turns their back on an unlocked computer or leaves a patient alone with an unlocked computer.

Outdated Hardware and Software

One of the most common contributors to stolen healthcare data is outdated hardware and software. A healthcare company that does not keep its devices and software up-to-date drastically increases the risk of this data being stolen. Out of date systems are more vulnerable than others because they are typically not supported as well as new software and devices that are offered by a tech company.

Poor Passwords

Remembering a slew of passwords for different systems could easily become burdensome. However, the alternative is that a weak password will make it easier for cyber-attackers to steal data. Additionally, if employees decide to use the same password for multiple accounts, it becomes exponentially easier for a hacker to steal sensitive data.

Complex passwords should also be considered for wifi networks. An unsecured network or one with a poor password is practically an invitation for any person that seeks to steal data.

Phishing Scams

Phishing scams have become much more complexto make it harder for recipients to ascertain which emails are real and which are a scam. A phishing scam may pose as a coworker, an advertisement for services, and in many other ways. All it takes is for one employee to unknowingly click a link they believe to be credible to invite a hacker into the system. Once this occurs, a healthcare office may not even be aware that their data is being siphoned with malware that has been attached to their system. This is why it is important to install anti-virus and malware detection software to decrease the risk of data being taken.

Insufficient Security Training

Any employee that will deal with sensitive information at a healthcare company should be provided with security training to learn how data could be compromised. For example, if a healthcare employee does not know that clicking on an unidentifiable link could lead to the installation of malware, an employer could be held responsible for their mistake.

It is also important to understand that security training should not be considered a one-time event. Healthcare providers should always look to keep their employees aware of the many new ways that hackers may seek to gain access to files of patients.

These are just a few instances of how HIPAA protected data could fall into the hands of those who seek to sell it or use it for other nefarious purposes.

The High Risk of Data Attacks in Healthcare

The healthcare industry is one of the most targeted industries when it comes to cyber-attacks. Understanding why could help companies recognize the need for stringent protocols to protect sensitive data.

Healthcare providers are disproportionally targeted by hackers due to the sheer amount of data thatcompanies possess from just one person. For example, when opening a file for a new patient it is possible that a healthcare provider will collect a patient’s address, number, health condition, driver license, social security number, insurance provider, credit cards, and possibly more.Due to how much information could be gleaned from one account, it makes sense why hackers would target a healthcare company looking for information.

Due to how much data could be taken from a patient’s information, patient data is frequently sold on black market websites for significant amounts of money. As healthcare records are typically only online, it is essential for healthcare providers to remain vigilant about protecting data from thieves.

Healthcare Data Security Solutions

Any healthcare providers that house patient data should look to use every available means to secure that information. The following are some options that should be considered to secure sensitive healthcare data:

Monitoring Applications

One way to reduce the risk of sensitive patient data being stolen is by installing software that requires logging of all individuals who access said data. For instance, if a nurse is providing medication to a patient, the system would provide administrators with data about who delivered the drug, the time, and what drugs were administered. It is also possible to utilize software that may recognize when a breach of data occurred.

Multi-Factor Authentication

Multi-factor authentication enacts a one-time password or other unique data whenever an individual seeks to login to a system that contains sensitive information. This is just one more simple layer of security that could be important in deterring a cyber attack.

Employee Training

Employee training is one the most effective deterrents for avoiding a data breach. As mentioned, employees should receive consistent training that will help them identify threats before they become a problem.

Ensuring Data Security in Healthcare

Healthcare data security should always be a priority in this day and age when there are so many digital scams that seek to steal the information of others. When a healthcare provider does not do its best to protect the information of patients, they open themselves up to a whole list of trouble. Taking every precaution to protect sensitive information is a duty of healthcare professionals and should also be considered as a relevant part of patient care. Rosie Connectivity Solutions understands the many ways that patient data could be put at risk, and we are here to help you minimize that risk for your patients. Contact us today to discuss your options for securing patient data.

Leave a comment