With the digital revolution in full swing and data traffic rising, industries that create, store, and consume large amounts of data now face a higher risk of cyber attacks. Through the years, the healthcare industry has gradually incorporated technological advancements into the system, this lead to an increased movement of data, and resulted in a higher risk of cyber threats. Therefore, industry leaders and compliance specialists are striving to prevent security violations in the massive databases that contain sensitive personal and patient data. “We are seeing a significant number of cyber breaches resulting in the destruction of healthcare information networks, causing downtime of critical systems and endangering the lives of patients,” says Gerry Blass, CEO of HIPAA compliance solutions provider ComplyAssistant. That said, the following initiatives are key in helping compliance officers achieve effective security of data in healthcare organizations.
Emphasis on Risk Management
The adoption of risk management strategies and careful assessment of security frameworks in healthcare organizations is crucial. To better address the set of challenges related to security and privacy compliance, healthcare organizations must focus on accounting for medical devices, and examine the protocol frameworks for non-medical devices as well.
Establishing Personnel Training Programs
Awareness of best practices for the protection of healthcare information and effective education on cybersecurity breaches is critical in recognizing potential threats and resolving them. “With the ever-growing threat of ransomware attacks in the healthcare sector; organizations need to do a better job in training their workforce,” says Jay Hodes, President of a HIPAA compliance consultant, Colington Consulting.
Incorporation of Newer Regulations
Regulations that were put forth over the recent past have now become mandatory. The new requirements mandate that without the utilization of a certified EHR system, eligible healthcare professionals and hospitals will not be able to avail certain payments. Nick Merkin, CEO of Compliagent, a healthcare compliance-consulting firm says, “Many healthcare providers are not adequately prepared for the incorporation of newer regulations and requirements.”
Combating Healthcare Fraud
Medicare fraud has become a priority for federal investigators nationwide. Further, healthcare providers should review their processes and maintain all necessary documentation to ensure compliance. With the number of audits and investigations for compliance rising every day, healthcare providers must be prepared to present the relevant paperwork at all times.