Now that computers are a vital component of our everyday lives, it’s increasingly important that computer security is placed front and center on our list of priorities. In the healthcare world in particular, thoughts are often focused on saving someone’s life – not necessarily on securing access to interfaces and computer systems that store private data like medical records. Computer and IT security is a balancing act between controlling access to information while allowing free and easy access to those who need that information.
Data and Protected Health Information (PHI) security is more important than ever. In fact, just last month the FBI informed the healthcare industry that it was being targeted by hackers from abroad. Earlier in the year the FBI warned the healthcare industry that systems were found to be laxer in comparison with other sectors. Healthcare data breaches have affected over 30 million patients, and that number continues to rise. It’s noteworthy to point out that data breaches cost the industry $5.6 billion each year and could put a small to medium sized medical practice out of business.
It’s not possible to solve all of the computer and data security issues in the healthcare realm at once, but by raising awareness and forming stable habits, progress can be made.
Computer Security Month
Did you know that October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month? This is a great opportunity to set aside time to focus on securing your practice’s network and IT environment. The truth is, any day of the week or year will suffice for the purpose of reviewing computer security policies. Take the time at your organization to regularly review IT security policies, practices, and procedures to make sure they are current and being followed correctly by staff.
As if your practice or organization needs further incentive, it’s good to know that there are a number of HIPAA standards that require you to periodically review your policies and procedures. Adopt this occasion to establish computer security awareness at your practice or organization. Work with staff and providers to review policies and procedures and keep everyone informed of the importance of computer security and their personal role in securing data. HIPAA breach violations could cost your agency up to $1.5 million per year!
Computer Security Checklist
Consider this checklist of items that your organization can utilize as a springboard to ensure your computers and IT systems are secure.