How to Secure Patient Information in the Age of Hacking?


As a famous adage goes, “it is a big, bad world out there”. This holds true for the World Wide Web too. Lately a lot of cases of hacking of data have come forth. If you thought that hackers only make their way into financial details and confidential government information, think again. A lot of clinics and healthcare providers too have fallen prey to hackers, who have tried to make their way into patient records, thus causing a breach of privacy and security.

Now, you might wonder why the hackers would be so interested in these records. Well, often healthcare units store huge amount of sensitive data which can be lure for these miscreants who are lurking around on the internet.

Wondering how healthcare providers fall prey to this breach of security? Take a look.

  1. Use of unauthorized cloud-based applications to store crucial data.
  2. Hacking and theft of Excel spreadsheets on which confidential data may have been stored.
  3. Exploitation of network server due to a weak password.
  4. Carelessness of the employees responsible for managing the data storage facility.
  5. Passwords and account details being offered to all and sundry.

So, how exactly can healthcare providers and hospitals ensure the best security for the confidential patient information? Here is what can be done.

 

  • Limited Access:

    It has been often cited that doctors and health professionals in the position of power in hospitals give out the password and other account details to all their employees. This is really not a good practice as more the number of people who are acquainted with these details, the higher the chances of the information being compromised. So, first things first, the higher officials in a healthcare facility should ensure that the access of confidential data is reserved to as few people as possible.

  • Stronger Passwords and Pins:

    People these days tend to use simpler passwords and pins owing to the ease of remembering these. However, such passwords and pins are easier to hack. This is one of the main reasons why most accounts expect users to key in passwords that are a combination of letters, digits and special characters. Though these may be hard to remember, they ensure the security of the crucial information.

  • Encryption of Data:

    Most practice management software that offer cloud-based server storage for data actually encrypt it in order to enhance its security. Once the data is encrypted, it is completely safe and even if a hacker does find his way into the server, he would not be able to decipher any information. Thus, healthcare providers should hire the services of such agencies that would help them with data encryption.

  • Training for Staff:

    Many a times, hackers make their way into the system through emails and links. One click from an employee is enough to give a leeway to the hacker. Thus, in order to keep them at bay, the staff of medical healthcare facilities should be trained to identify such possible threats to the whole system.

 

According to experts, backing up the data and restricting the number of users is one of the best ways to ensure that the confidential information is secure and safe from hackers and other miscreants. So, stay alert and rethink your data security options.