The healthcare industry continues to evolve around emerging technology and new ways to digitize medical care and attention for patients. One digital advancement now, mandated in the United States by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), is keeping electronic records of patient information, notes, and medical history.
Electronic health records solve many inconsistencies and delays in the health care system, while also making patient information more accessible and digestible than ever. Patients can communicate with physicians, understand their medical status, switch to new providers, and receive thorough ongoing care seamlessly.
Electronic Health Records and Security
Of course, as the world adopts technology for data tracking and record keeping, not everyone is quick to believe it is the safest and most secure way to file sensitive personal information.
Although data security might ring as one of the most obvious threats and downsides to electronic record keeping, security is contrarily one of the biggest advantages of using electronic health records.
The Importance of Health Record Security
When it comes to keeping sensitive patient information safely stored online, security is a top priority. In the event of a security breach, confidential information can lead to financial and identity fraud, affecting patients, physicians, and practices alike. As you move your patient records online, follow these practices to keep patient information safe and secure.
8 Ways to Improve Electronic Health Record Security
- Implement security from the top down
Before addressing the sensitivity of system security, make sure everyone who will have access to the system, have undergone background checks. Once you are certain your team is trustworthy, you can update all relevant personnel on the information system’s policies and procedures.
- Train employees on the system
Train all relevant health care personnel on the use of information system, from uploading data to monitoring patient progress and extracting necessary information for future visits or research analysis. Well-trained employees can ensure that all steps are thoroughly followed to keep information secure.
- Establish and monitor system access
Make system access by unauthorized personnel is impossible, by implementing a stringent identification and verification process to get into the system. Supply passwords and PIN numbers to your authorized users, and consider providing new personal information to this list annually (or at a higher frequency).
Set clear roles and boundaries at each level of information entry. Monitor information privacy as early on as data entry, by creating privacy filters at workstations, and assigning clear roles and limitations to each.
- Audit information system regularly
By performing routine system audits, you can quickly detect any security breaches or security breach attempts, and remedy the malfunction or deliberate violation. Keeping routing audits in place creates a culture of expectation where involved personnel sees clear barriers and consequences to breaching.
- Follow protocol for data disposal
Set a clear protocol of data disposal, tracking when and where information is disposed. Create a tracking system for hardware that is cleared, reused or backed up, so sensitive information can always be traced.
- Use cryptography
Cryptography is specially designed to disguise medical data through encryption.
- Establish a system for patient access
Since HIPAA grants patients the right to access their medical records, it is wise to keep a secure system governing patient record access while accommodating all patient rights involved in record requests. Rights include notifications about who is accessing information when medical records are added or corrected, and how patients can communicate with providers.
- Update your Practice with Mercedes Transcription
The ways to update your medical practice are many. At Mercedes Transcription, we offer premier medical transcription services that keep your medical records accurate, up-to-date, and useful in data analysis.
To learn more about incorporating our services into your practice and plans for business development, reach out to our team, today!