4 EASE to Secure PHI Data

With the rapid increase in the use of technology in Healthcare, providers are focusing more on automating clinical workflows and electronically capturing medical records for their patients to ensure the provision of quality care. This increased dependency on technology has made protecting the PHI (Protected Health Information) data and IT infrastructure more challenging. The advancement in technology has made the healthcare sector more vulnerable to security threats, thus increasing the risk of improper access to patient’s healthcare information. In the past few years, PHI data breaches resulting from vendor oversight and misconception have grown rapidly. Most of these have been caused by the involvement of a third party in handling the PHI data, resulting in an HIPAA violation.

Technology vendors and their customers should follow the 4 EASE steps to avoid any possible healthcare ePHI data breach:

  1. Evaluate Risk: Perform a comprehensive risk assessment. This will help you to evaluate any possible security breach. As an organization, you should implement a risk assessment policy. You should periodically review administrative, technical, physical and organizational safeguards, as well as perform a continuous re-evaluation of risk of a customer’s ePHI data.
  2. Awareness and Training: Increase awareness of the security staff and train them on the potential risk that the application can cause in terms of a data breach. The organization should maintain logs and perform a regular review of system activities.
  3. Security Patches: Ensure that all the latest patches and firmware are applied as soon as they are released. This will avoid any penalty or fine that would be incurred due to negligenceresulting in ePHI breach.
  4. Efficient Change Control Management: Ensure that no changes are made without approval and proper documentation, which could result in potential damage to information technology assets and business processes.

Technology in healthcare is changing rapidly and security is often an oversight. Defining security processes in application development is critical for building a robust & sustainable platform. All healthcare technology organizations have to go the extra mile to protect PHI healthcare data and ensure PHI compliance. We must ensure that applications have the same processes and checks to do their own due diligence.