As technology becomes more prevalent in the daily operations of medical facilities, it's important for organizations to take the proper security precautions. No hospital wants to be given millions of dollars in fines for committing HIPAA violations, let alone be responsible for putting patients' information at risk.
With meaningful use incentives and the implementation of electronic health records (EHRs), healthcare organizations have many aspects to consider when it comes to system security. Partnering with a hospital consultant who is well-trained in healthcare IT consulting can ensure that all staff members are fully educated in best practices for technological innovations.
This is especially important today, as more organizations find that data breaches are exceedingly common in medical facilities.
The Washington Post conducted a year-long investigation of the healthcare industry and found that it is far behind other sectors when it comes to security practices. Additionally, medical facilities are more likely to be at-risk for cyber attacks.
Researchers warned that hackers could exploit known gaps to steal patients' records for use in identity theft schemes and even launch attacks that could shut down critical hospital systems.
"I have never seen an industry with more gaping security holes," Avi Rubin, a computer scientist and technical director of the Information Security Institute at Johns Hopkins University, told the Post. "If our financial industry regarded security the way the healthcare sector does, I would stuff my cash in a mattress under my bed."
Rubin added that some of the major issues include a failure to update aging technology. Also, the problem may be due to a culture where physicians, nurses and other healthcare workers sometimes sidestep basic security measures - like passwords - in favor of convenience.
In order to remain HIPAA compliant and ensure that all staff members understand the importance of healthcare safety, medical facilities would be wise to work with a firm specializing in healthcare strategic planning.