To maintain patient privacy and accommodate compliance, securing EHR systems is no longer an option for healthcare organizations.
FREMONT, CA: When the security teams stop getting alerts and error notifications, does it mean everything is going well or is it an indication of things gone awry in the system? It can be either, but assumptions might very well lead to unprecedented data losses to the organization. To avert catastrophic security failures, it is imperative for organizations to assess, monitor, and measure the condition of their Electronic Health Records (EHR) system.
The problem could be as simple as a full hard drive, which might hinder the processing of critical alerts and requests. If left unresolved, it could even put the patients at risk. To secure the electronic health records, it is important to assess the risk to the EHR system. The major risk areas might include clinical content, human-computer user interface, personnel, clinical communication and workflow, internal policies and procedures, environment and culture, and external rules and regulations.
Patient data privacy and protection plays a vital role in maintaining compliance. According to a survey by Software Advice, 86 percent of the respondents showed concern regarding the health information security breaches. Almost 21 percent admitted having withheld personal health information from their doctors due to identity theft concerns. Of all the respondents, over half of them declared that they would change doctors if their data records suffered a security breach.
Monitoring the EHR
To determine the risk areas, it is imperative for organizations to organize regular assessments of the EHR by a team comprising clinicians, technical experts, and health informatics professionals. An efficient approach involves dividing the health IT teams into segments. The assessments should include hard-drive space evaluation, memory and CPU utilization, database performance, and so on. The safety assessments should also include application performance and user satisfaction.
Investigation plays a vital role in ensuring EHR safety. The safety events need to be prioritized according to risk levels, and appropriate strategies need to be taken to mitigate the effects. It is imperative for the assessment teams to be multidisciplinary, with members from IT, informatics, clinical safety, and systems engineering. The team should also assess hardware and software logs, clinical content, and human-computer interactions.