December 4, 2023


Healthy Always

5 Methods for Suppliers to Overcome ePHI Safety Challenges

4 min read
Ben Herzberg, Chief Scientist of Satori

The most recent report from the Workplace of Civil Rights (OCR) reveals a regarding development: HIPAA violations and knowledge breaches are drastically growing. 

Based on the report, HIPAA violations surged by 39% between 2017 and 2021 and the variety of giant healthcare knowledge breaches (these affecting 500 or extra information) rose by 58%. Greater than 5,000 incidents have been reported, compromising greater than 382 million healthcare information and surpassing the inhabitants of the USA by 1.2 instances. Small knowledge breaches elevated by 5.4% over the identical time interval. 

From digital well being information (EHRs) to medical billing data, affected person knowledge is important for offering high quality healthcare providers and accounts for one-third of the world’s knowledge. But, the healthcare sector nonetheless struggles in safeguarding this knowledge and staying compliant with HIPAA amid the rising menace of cyber assaults and breaches. 

HIPAA Compliance Complexity

Complying with HIPAA rules provides a layer of complexity to healthcare knowledge safety. The HIPAA Security Rule, established in 2003, units strict necessities for safeguarding digital private well being data (ePHI), together with administrative, bodily, and technical safeguards. Compliance with the Safety Rule is essential for sustaining the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of affected person knowledge.

Failure to adjust to the Safety Rule may end up in penalties that transcend financial fines – non-compliant organizations could face reputational harm and hurt to their model. Nevertheless, the Safety Rule’s advanced nature makes it difficult for healthcare organizations to attain and keep compliance. These challenges embody:

  • Totally understanding the scope of the Safety Rule, which incorporates conducting a threat evaluation, implementing safety measures, and growing insurance policies and procedures, amongst different standards. 
  • Buying the finances and assets wanted to stick to the Safety Rule’s complete necessities.
  • Maintaining with speedy technological developments and guaranteeing that each one new techniques adjust to the Safety Rule in gentle of the business’s speedy digital transformation. 
  • Implementing strong entry controls, conducting thorough coaching, and imposing strict safety insurance policies to mitigate the dangers related to insider threats and human error.
  • Guaranteeing that each one enterprise associates, akin to distributors, contractors, and third-party service suppliers, even have acceptable safeguards in place to guard ePHI.

To beat these challenges, healthcare organizations must prioritize knowledge safety and spend money on the required assets to make sure that their processes align with the necessities of the HIPAA Safety Rule. 

Overcoming ePHI Safety Challenges

Securing healthcare knowledge and sustaining HIPAA compliance is advanced, however healthcare organizations can take steps to prioritize strong knowledge safety processes and safeguard ePHI. 

Listed below are 5 methods:

  • Set up complete safety insurance policies: Define safety protocols and frequently evaluate and replace these insurance policies to mirror the altering menace and regulatory landscapes. An incident response plan is a crucial component to have in place in order that organizations can successfully reply to and mitigate knowledge breaches or safety incidents in the event that they do happen. Additionally, keep up-to-date on the most recent safety greatest practices and preserve any software program and {hardware} up to date with the most recent patches. 
  • Conduct common threat assessments: Common threat assessments may also help determine vulnerabilities and apply acceptable safety measures promptly to forestall potential knowledge breaches and strengthen the general safety posture of the group. 
  • Implement acceptable entry controls: Healthcare professionals require well timed entry to affected person data to supply high quality care, however granting extreme entry can enhance the chance of insider threats and human error. One of the essential steps to cut back knowledge safety threat is limiting entry to ePHI to solely these approved workers who want it for his or her jobs. Healthcare organizations ought to implement robust entry controls, together with role-based entry and multi-factor authentication to make sure that solely approved personnel have entry to affected person knowledge.
  • Put money into strong cybersecurity measures: Measures akin to firewalls, encryption, intrusion detection techniques, and common safety audits can higher defend affected person knowledge. Encrypting ePHI on all storage units, networks, and communication channels can defend it from being accessed, intercepted, or tampered with by malicious actors. Repeatedly reviewing and updating cybersecurity protocols is significant to make sure the effectiveness of those measures and keep compliant with HIPAA necessities. 
  • Conduct safety consciousness coaching: Coaching and educating workers members on knowledge safety greatest practices can be paramount in stopping HIPAA violations. Human error and lack of knowledge are frequent causes of knowledge breaches in healthcare. All workers, together with scientific and non-clinical workers, ought to bear complete coaching on knowledge safety insurance policies, procedures, and pointers to strengthen good safety hygiene and keep vigilant towards potential threats. 

Along with the technical and procedural measures outlined above, it’s also essential for healthcare organizations to rigorously vet any distributors they associate with to make sure that their options are safe and compliant. It is going to be simpler to stick to the HIPAA Safety Rule with knowledge safety methods like these in place. 

Safeguarding affected person knowledge, maintaining with the evolving regulatory panorama, and guaranteeing ongoing compliance could be daunting. The complexity of adhering to the HIPAA Safety Rule, mixed with the rising menace of cyber assaults and breaches, creates a continuing battle for healthcare organizations. 

Guaranteeing the safety and privateness of healthcare knowledge is a steady course of that requires ongoing vigilance. Nevertheless, with correct planning and a robust dedication to knowledge safety, healthcare organizations can get to the basis of those challenges and make sure the safety of affected person knowledge whereas complying with HIPAA rules.

About Ben Herzberg

Ben Herzberg is the Chief Scientist of Satori Cyber. The Satori knowledge safety platform seamlessly integrates into any setting to automate entry controls and ship full data-flow visibility using activity-based discovery and classification. Previous to Satori, Ben was the Director of Menace Analysis at Imperva, main groups of knowledge scientists and safety researchers within the discipline of software and knowledge safety.

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