HIPAA Encryption: Keeping Patient Data Secure

HIPAA Encryption

HIPAA Encryption mitigates unauthorized access to information and you want protection to follow your sensitive data no matter where it resides. You should never work with a technology vendor that does not encrypt the platform they are offering. Fines for data breaches average millions of dollars per incident making it more important than ever to protect health records. Most healthcare practices probably remember the 2015 Anthem data breach as well as large healthcare breaches in 2016 such as Banner Health. 2017 has also had its share of data breaches as covered by Healthcare IT News: The Biggest Healthcare Breaches of 2017 (so far). So why does this keep happening over and over again? Sloppiness. Verizon’s latest Data Breach Investigation Report (DBIR) shows that basic security hygiene is still lacking. Even though the study states that healthcare is different because most breaches were caused by insiders, it doesn’t change the fact that most of these hacks and breaches could have easily been prevented with procedures like simple password management, software updates, and proper HIPAA encryption. So what can you do to make sure this doesn’t happen to your office? For starters, make sure you talk about data encryption and mandatory HIPAA compliance procedures they have in place to keep your data secure. As a healthcare provider looking to implement digital technology to help run your practice, it is important to pay attention to the vendors you use by asking them to explain where data is being stored, compliance protocols, and if they offer a signed BAA. What is HIPAA Encryption? To put it simply, encryption is one way to prevent data theft. At its heart, encryption is taking information and scrambling it in a way where it becomes gibberish. Turning this scrambled information back into real information – patient emails, prescription faxes, images, or simple messages – can only be done by decrypting it back from gibberish. Cryptography itself dates back to ancient times, the only real difference is that today we use electronic devices to generate advanced algorithms to scramble our data. How are they related? Encryption becomes extremely important when you are talking about HIPAA compliance and cybersecurity of a patient’s sensitive data. HIPAA basically states that there are only two ways to safeguard against the misuse of protected health information – burn it or encrypt it. RingRx advises the ladder, as encryption is a completely effective practice to secure PHI. The main take away here is that encryption mitigates unauthorized access to information and you want protection to follow your sensitive data no matter where it resides. You should never work with a technology vendor that does not encrypt the platform they are offering. How Can RingRx Help? Here at RingRx we are a team of individuals dedicated to ending the persistent problems with medical office phone systems. After 20 years in the telecommunications business, we realized that medical phone systems rely on several outdated methods that simply don’t mesh well together. In the era of digital transformation, we created RingRx to help you improve patient care while reducing costs, errors, and staying 100% HIPAA compliant. Click here to start your free 30-day trial.

How HIPAA Affects the EMR

Patient Centered Communication App

As part of Obamacare, healthcare organizations were required to implement an electronic medical record (EMR).  One main concern for healthcare providers and patients is the potential violation of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).