Imagine having your bank account depleted due to your identity being stolen. It’s unfortunate, you might struggle for money while the investigation pursues, and maybe lose a little bit of sleep, but it does not threaten your life. We still try hard to keep this information secure and encrypted; but what about our health information kept by the physician. Yes you can speak to the doctor, therapist, or any other physician with the utmost confidence that the information released or diagnosed will be kept confidential. But the exposure of health records due to malicious hackers can cause a chain reaction of problems that go unnoticeable for years if you are a victim of medical identity theft. The last thing you want in a medical scenario is to be incorrectly treated or misdiagnosed.
The University of Miami gives a series of examples and damage that can be caused by medical identity theft. “Victims of medical identity theft can receive inappropriate medical treatment including potentially harmful medication, exhaust their health insurance benefits, and subsequently lose both life and health insurance coverage. They can even fail screening exams for employment due to the presence of diseases and other conditions in their health records that are not theirs but rather belong to the individuals who stole the identities.” This is among other multiple reasons to steal and sell medical information.” the school reports. Long story short, theft is never a pretty picture, especially when it’s you, your patients, or someone you know.
There are multiple steps taken to ensure the security of health records, but technology moves quickly so it’s necessary to keep up. One is HIPAA Security Rules, involving encryption and other security details. However hackers have still found their way in, generally causing no harm, but “better safe than sorry”. So if you are a part of a healthcare organization, take a few minutes and look into the security within your business and perhaps perform a couple steps to ensure the patient data records are kept safe. Consider looking into a Healthcare Consulting Company or informing your person in charge to look at ways to improve or ensure the security of medical records. It’s simple, and necessary. Here are a couple things to consider.
- Perform a Security Risk Assessment as mandated by HIPAA
- Get detailed information from your vendor about their security controls
- Hire a security firm for a non-HIPAA viewpoint
BHM Healthcare Solutions is a healthcare management consulting firm, specializing in multiple fields directed at improving your business. Services you may be interested in: financial analysis, denial management, physician advisor services, compliance, quality improvement and many more.
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