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HIPAA Physical Security is Just as Important as Cyber-Security

HIPAA Physical Security is Just as Important as Cyber-Security | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it
HIPAA Physical Security is Just as Important as Cyber-Security

There are many misconceptions when it comes to HIPAA and security controls for covered entities. While security is related to technical measures such as encryption, firewalls, and security risk assessments, it also addresses physical and administrative safeguards that must be in place to protect patient information. In order to comply with HIPAA regulation, healthcare organizations must address each standard and safeguard outlined in the HIPAA Security Rule.

 

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office for Civil Rights (OCR) has now released new information further emphasizing the importance of physical safeguards for healthcare organizations across the country. HIPAA not only requires technical controls to protect the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of protected health information (PHI) but also proper physical security controls.

 

Physical safeguards are generally seen as the simplest and cheapest forms of protecting PHI, yet many organizations tend to overlook this important element of security. There are even some physical security controls that cost nothing- such as simply locking up portable electronic devices when they are not in use (laptops, portable storage devices, and pen drives).

 

Although this may seem like a very basic form of security, it is one of the most effective ways of preventing theft. To illustrate the importance of HIPAA physical security safeguards, OCR focuses on a 2015 HIPAA settlement with Lahey Hospital and Medical Center that affected 599 patients. This breach and subsequent HIPAA fine were triggered by the theft of an unencrypted laptop from the Tufts Medical School-affiliated teaching hospital.

 

The laptop was stolen from an unlocked treatment room off an inner corridor of the radiology department and contained ePHI. Lahey Hospital was fined $850,000 for failing to implement physical controls–a high price to pay for something that could have been avoided if some simple physical security safeguards were in place.

 

Prior to the Lahey Hospital settlement, QCA Health Plan paid $250,000 to OCR in 2014 for potential HIPAA violations. QCA Health Plan neglected to implement physical safeguards for all workstations to restrict access to ePHI to authorized users only. In this case, an unencrypted laptop was stolen from an employee’s vehicle.

 

Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary (MEEI) also settled a HIPAA violation with OCR in 2012 for $1.5 million. Again, this incident was related to the theft of an unencrypted laptop, resulting in the exposure of patients’ ePHI.

 

In 2016, Feinstein Institute for Medical Research settled potential HIPAA violations with OCR for $3.9 million. Feinstein Institute failed to physically secure a laptop that was stolen from an employee’s vehicle containing the ePHI of 13,000 patients.

 

In July 2016, the University of Mississippi Medical Center was fined $2,750,000 for a failure to implement HIPAA physical security safeguards. An unencrypted laptop that contained ePHI of approximately 10,000 patients was stolen from its Medical Intensive Care Unit.

Preventing HIPAA Physical Security Breaches

It is up to covered entities and their business associates to decide on the most appropriate physical security safeguards that will protect their patients’ ePHI. One way organizations can implement these physical security controls is by adopting an effective compliance program.

 

Compliance Group gives health care organizations confidence in their HIPAA compliance with The Guard. The Guard is our HIPAA compliance web-app that covers every element of HIPAA compliance.

 

Our Compliance Coaches will guide users through every step of their compliance program with the help of our HIPAA compliance web-app. The Guard is built to address the full extent of HIPAA regulation, including everything needed to implement an effective HIPAA compliance program that will help safeguard your practice from violations and fines.

 

With The Guard, health care professionals will not only address their physical security safeguards but the technical and administrative safeguards as well, along with the other HIPAA requirements.

Technical Dr. Inc.'s insight:
Contact Details :

inquiry@technicaldr.com or 877-910-0004
www.technicaldr.com

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Technological innovations in the healthcare industry

Technological innovations in the healthcare industry | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

Medicine and Technology

In today’s world, technology plays an important role in every industry as well as in our personal lives. Out of all of the industries that technology plays a crucial role in, healthcare is definitely one of the most important. This merger is responsible for improving and saving countless lives all around the world.

Medical technology is a broad field where innovation plays a crucial role in sustaining health. Areas like biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, information technology, the development of medical devices and equipment, and more have all made significant contributions to improving the health of people all around the world. From “small” innovations like adhesive bandages and ankle braces, to larger, more complex technologies like MRI machines, artificial organs, and robotic prosthetic limbs, technology has undoubtedly made an incredible impact on medicine.

In the healthcare industry, the dependence on medical technology cannot be overstated, and as a result of the development of these brilliant innovations, healthcare practitioners can continue to find ways to improve their practice – from better diagnosis, surgical procedures, and improved patient care.

Information Technology and Medicine

Information technology has made significant contributions to our world, namely in the medical industry. With the increased use of electronic medical records (EMR), telehealth services, and mobile technologies like tablets and smart phones, physicians and patients are both seeing the benefits that these new medical technologies are bringing.

Medical technology has evolved from introducing doctors to new equipment to use inside private practices and hospitals to connecting patients and doctors thousands of miles away through telecommunications. It is not uncommon in today’s world for patients to hold video conferences with physicians to save time and money normally spent on traveling to another geographic location or send health information instantaneously to any specialist or doctor in the world.

With more and more hospitals and practices using medical technology like mobile devices on the job, physicians can now have access to any type of information they need – from drug information, research and studies, patient history or records, and more – within mere seconds. And, with the ability to effortlessly carry these mobile devices around with them throughout the day, they are never far from the information they need. Applications that aid in identifying potential health threats and examining digital information like x-rays and CT scans also contribute to the benefits that information technology brings to medicine.

Medical Equipment Technology

Improving quality of life is one of the main benefits of integrating new innovations into medicine. Medical technologies like minimally-invasive surgeries, better monitoring systems, and more comfortable scanning equipment are allowing patients to spend less time in recovery and more time enjoying a healthy life.

The integration of medical equipment technology and telehealth has also created robotic surgeries, where in some cases, physicians do not even need to be in the operating room with a patient when the surgery is performed. Instead, surgeons can operate out of their “home base”, and patients can have the procedure done in a hospital or clinic close their own hometown, eliminating the hassles and stress of health-related travel. With other robotic surgeries, the surgeon is still in the room, operating the robotic devices, but the technology allows for a minimally-invasive procedure that leaves patients with less scarring and significantly less recovery time.

Technology and Medical Research

Medical scientists and physicians are constantly conducting research and testing new procedures to help prevent, diagnose, and cure diseases as well as developing new drugs and medicines that can lessen symptoms or treat ailments.

Through the use of technology in medical research, scientists have been able to examine diseases on a cellular level and produce antibodies against them. These vaccines against life-threatening diseases like malaria, polio, MMR, and more prevent the spread of disease and save thousands of lives all around the globe. In fact, the World Health Organization estimates that vaccines save about 3 million lives per year, and prevent millions of others from contracting deadly viruses and diseases.

Medical Technology and The Law

As technology in the world of healthcare continues to evolve, rules and regulations concerning its use must be established and adjusted to adapt to the new methods of administering care. Regulations like HIPAA and its Privacy and Security Act target the concerns about the confidentiality of patient information and the steps that must be taken to maintain privacy in our digital world. Medical providers and healthcare administration must be careful when choosing to implement new products and technologies into their services, and should ensure that all technologies are “HIPAA compliant” before investing in their implementation. Other initiatives, like the 2010 Health Care Reform bill, state the steps that must be taken by hospitals and other care providers to integrate medical technology into their practices.

Technological innovations in the healthcare industry continue to provide physicians with new ways to improve the quality of care delivered to their patients and improve the state of global healthcare. Through technology’s integration with areas like disease prevention, surgical procedures, better access to information, and medical telecommunications, the medical industry and patients around the world continue to benefit.

Technical Dr. Inc.'s insight:
Contact Details :

inquiry@technicaldr.com or 877-910-0004
www.technicaldr.com

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