Like it or not, your medical practice is a valuable target for cyber-criminals. This is because the data you carry on file not only offers financial information, but also provides access to lucrative data in the form of next of kin, medical history and contact details. Now imagine if this sensitive information fell into the wrong hands? With this in mind your patient’s safety moves beyond the medical and into the data space. But this doesn’t have to be your practice’s fate. With these basic security protocols in place you can get ahead of protecting your healthcare practice against the potential threat of cyber-attacks.
What are the key touch points for data protection?
Limited accessibility to data
The information in your patient files is sensitive and so only specific people should be able to access it. To ensure this is followed, have your IT staff install password protect onto your patient file access points. This can then be tracked and tranced from time to time to ensure things remain under control. When staff leave, also ensure that passwords are automatically changed in order to safe guard against a disgruntled employee down the line.
New modes of doing business
The Pandemic moved an entire industry online overnight. And while the change was sudden, it doesn’t mean best practice should be ignored on the tail end of the transition. While working remotely with Telemedicine is a huge plus for healthcare practitioners, it is also important that virtual communication is encrypted, and that files and devices are fully compliant with normal privacy protocols.
Conduct ongoing risk assessments
The last thing you want is to become complacent. The businesses that protect themselves are the ones that anticipate breach, identify their vulnerabilities and plug the holes before they are accessed. By conducting regular risk assessments, you will ensure that your practice is consistently in safe hands and risk averse.
Confidentiality in online consults
Online consultations are great for practical reasons but there are important security factors to consider: Patients must be made aware of potential breaches in confidentiality like whether they can be overheard by friends, colleagues or family during their appointment. Recording sessions should not be allowed and a reasonable level of privacy should be a prerequisite for online consultations. One way to help this is to encourage your patients to wear earphones during consults as this will mean that passers-by cannot overhear or remotely record your responses. It is also not suggested that anyone records the meeting as this can easily fall into the wrong hands down the line like for example if a your patient’s device is hacked at some future point. In other words, where possible, try and replicate a confidential in-person experience, online.
Upgrade your software
While this may be a pricy option, it is a necessity. As a practice that deals in doctor-patient confidentiality it is imperative that you use software that prioritizes cyber-security. Your best bet is to invest in a next generation firewall, encryption and anti-malware protection to ensure your data and systems are protected at all times.
The bottom line
Your patient’s confidentiality is as much a concern as their heath is. By following these crucial steps you will minimize potential cyber breaches and stay ahead of the cyber-security game. While these upgrades and maintenance can cost you, they are a worthy investment and will go a long way in recouping costs and trust down the line. And if you need some funding to get the cyber-ball rolling, find out how you can use a Merchant Cash Advance in your medical practice and contact us today.