While hospitals and other medical establishments may be responsible for saving people’s lives, they are still businesses. As such, they are responsible for ensuring that their business practices are secure. One area of particular concern is the protection of patient data.
There are plenty of threats to a hospital’s digital records. It might even reach a point where their medical equipment and operations must suffer delays or disruptions. Unfortunately, that could lead to lost time, even enough to separate life and death. And in the very nature of the medical field, even a second can help save people’s lives.
This situation means they must be mindful of protecting their patients’ data. There are a few steps that hospitals can take to ensure the safety of their patients’ information.
Well-Designed Data Infrastructure
The first step is to have a well-designed data infrastructure. This setup includes having multiple backups of patient records in different physical locations. That way, if one server goes down, the others can keep the hospital running. You might have to partner with a company that provides data center modular UPS to ensure your on-site environment has a well-structured server environment. Once you have a server room, you must ensure your IT professionals can maintain it.
In addition, the hospital should use encryption for all patient data. That way, even if a hacker does manage to access the records, they will be unreadable. The hospital should also have a system to track who accesses what records and when.
The hospital should also have a secure network. This network should be designed so that only authorized personnel can access it. Unauthorized individuals should not be able to access the network or its data.
Regular Security Updates
The second step is regularly updating the hospital’s systems’ security. The hospital should have a team responsible for ensuring that all security patches are installed on time. They should also test the methods regularly to ensure that they are secure.
In addition, the hospital should have a plan for responding to security breaches. This plan should include who to notify and what steps to take to mitigate the damage.
The third step is to train all employees on proper data handling procedures. Employees should know how to protect patient data and what to do if they suspect a security breach.
They should also know how to dispose of patient records properly. This strategy includes shredding or destroying any physical records and deleting any digital records.
In addition, all employees should be made aware of the importance of keeping patient data secure. They should understand that a security breach could seriously harm the hospital and its patients.
Regular Cybersecurity Audits
Another way to protect patient data is to conduct regular cybersecurity audits. These can help identify any weak points in the hospital’s digital defenses. The hospital should then work to fix any vulnerabilities that these audits uncover.
Hospitals should also plan what to do during a data breach. This plan should include steps to contain the breach and mitigate its effects. Here are the following things you can do:
- Notify law enforcement
- Alert affected patients
- Change all passwords
- Implement additional security measures
- Hire a cybersecurity firm to help with the investigation and recovery process
- Cooperate with authorities during the investigation
Cybersecurity audits happen to every business. While they may be a nuisance, they are essential for keeping patient data safe.
Third-Party Data Management
Another way to protect patient data is to use third-party data management services. These services can help hospitals secure their records and meet compliance standards. They can also provide additional features, such as data analytics and reporting.
A third-party service can free up hospital staff to focus on other tasks. It can also give them peace of mind knowing that their patient’s data is in good hands. Data management services come in various forms. Some are cloud-based, while others are on-premises.
Hospitals should carefully consider their needs before choosing a service. They should also look for a service compliant with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).
Invest in Cybersecurity Insurance
Another way to protect patient data is to invest in cybersecurity insurance. This type of insurance can help cover the costs of a data breach. It can also provide funds to support the hospital in recovery from an attack.
Cybersecurity insurance is not required by law. However, it is becoming more common for hospitals to purchase it. It is because the cost of a data breach can be high.
There are various types of cybersecurity insurance policies. Some policies cover only certain types of risks, while others cover a more comprehensive range of threats. Hospitals should choose a policy that meets their needs.
Hospitals must take steps to protect their patients’ data. They can do this by investing in a well-designed data infrastructure, conducting regular cybersecurity audits, and using third-party data management services. They should also consider purchasing cybersecurity insurance. Hospitals can help keep their patients’ data safe by taking these steps.