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October 30, 2019

Stay Protected from a Healthcare Data Breach with These Suggestions

A data breach is a more common occurrence than you may realize. In fact, according to the OCR (Office of Civil Rights), in 2015 alone there were over 253 healthcare breaches here in the U.S. These breaches affected over 500 individuals, and lead to 112 million records – an extremely alarming number!

data breach protection

The PROSHRED Minnesota team has supplied shredding services to several healthcare offices and facilities in the past. Our biggest priority is to help our healthcare clients in implementing a simple but convenient, document shredding program, to guarantee security and compliance. Due to strict HIPAA regulations and the consequences of non-compliance, it’s imperative that your healthcare facility is taking the necessary approach to protecting employees and of course most importantly, patients who are putting full trust in your business.

Here are some critical tips your medical office should keep in mind to avoid data breach: 

Risk Assessment: We highly recommend that healthcare facilities carry out a risk assessment of IT systems to assist in discovering where security threats might be present. For instance, there might be a variety of networks set-up; one for public access and a different one entirely for sensitive patient information.

Computer Security: All computers should be equipped with anti-malware software so that malware in your employees’ electronic devices can be identified instantly. Through the use of vulnerability management techniques, any security threats can be taken care of pretty easily. Ensuring you have an effective firewall in place will also keep you secure from malware properly.

Sufficient Training: Always make sure your staff is trained on the specific details outlined under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and how they affect day-to-day performance. It’s also a smart idea to educate your medical staff on all other related privacy laws, to ensure everybody has the essential tools and knowledge needed to maintain security in the medical office. Employees should be made well aware of phishing scams; this is when intruders will disguise themselves as real, legitimate organizations in hopes to attract recipients to visit a particular link or sign-up for a program of some sort. Viruses can break through from these scams so it’s very important that everyone is aware of how they operate.

Restrict Access: Based on job duties, certain employees will need different/additional access to information over others; this will vary between roles. Only grant access that is absolutely required to complete each job role effectively; this will ensure security. Because this need will vary, each employee should only be provided with the level of access necessary to perform their job duties properly. In addition, for your security always confirm that you are working with unique user ID protocols, passwords, and other security features at all times.

Regular Monitoring: Be sure there is great emphasis on keeping electronic devices and hard copy records containing personal, private health information, secure. A Clean Desk Policy will definitely contribute to a more organized office environment and will encourage your employees to be aware of their document disposal habits. While it can be difficult to maintain clutter-free desks in a busy work environment, a Clean Desk Policy offers the perfect approach. All employees should be made well aware that records must remain protected and secure at all times; no documents should be left unattended or unsecured during lunch break, or at the end of a work day.

Professional Storage and Shredding: Physical access to facilities where health information is stored should be restricted. When sensitive records and old hard drives have reached the end of their life cycle, they should be stored securely before being collected for destruction purposes. For simplicity and peace of mind, your medical office will benefit dramatically from hiring a document destruction provider for reliable destruction solutions. Our team of professionals will provide you with shredding services you can depend on.

Medical offices are full of highly sensitive patient data and if your business is faced with an HIPAA breach, it could be extremely harmful to your reputation in the community. Investing in professional, secure shredding services will save this headache, and ensure you are thoroughly protected from non-compliance fines.

At PROSHRED Minnesota, we work with medical offices and healthcare facilities offering both on-site and off-site document destruction services for added convenience. Get in touch with our team in Minnesota for information on our medical record shredding services. Call at 1-952-777-4876.

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