Hospital Information Management Software Security Standards to Follow to Safeguard Data BreachesMay 18, 2021
The modern-day healthcare system is deeply dependent on technology. From advanced hospital management software to sophisticated machines used for diagnosing diseases, it is impossible to run the healthcare departments without these technological innovations. However, with the rise in technology, there also has been a surge in cybercrimes in healthcare institutions. As per Becker’s Hospital Review, data leaks and breaches cost the healthcare sector approx. $5.6 billion every year in the US alone.
Unauthorized system access, malware infection, and data corruption are some of the biggest threats in healthcare cybersecurity. Hence, it is essential for every healthcare institution to strictly follow the regulatory requirements set forth by HIPPA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) for hospital management software. Moreover, they should encourage using different healthcare management practices in their hospitals to secure their data and prevent data thefts.
Best Healthcare Management Practices to Follow to Ensure High Data Security
Adhere to the following tips to protect your hospital management system against data thefts and breaches.
Educate and Train Staff on Healthcare Cyber Security Protocols
The medical staff and the software user are unquestionably the weakest links in your hospital’s cybersecurity practices. Simple negligence and misuse of the system can have a significant impact on your overall system.
Hence, ensure that each of your staff members is thoroughly educated about the security protocols of your organization. Conduct consistent staff training for security measures quarterly so that the staff stays vigilant while working and does not take anything for granted.
Restrict Access to Unauthorized Applications
One of the biggest sources of malware and data leaks from the hospital system is the use of unauthorized files on the computer system. Many times, the staff connects their personal devices to the computer system or visits an unofficial website which can lead to a malware insertion into the system. To ensure safety from such an incident, make sure to install software that restricts the use of unauthorized websites and devices into the hospital’s system.
Have a Weekly/Monthly Data Monitoring Regime
The higher management must have a strict data monitor regime to check which users are accessing what applications, information, and other resources in their routine.
These information logs are highly essential for audit purposes and help identify areas of concern and need for necessary protective measures. On the occurrence of an undesired event, these audit trails may determine the cause and further evaluate damages.
Have a Strong Password Policy
Your hospital information management system must be controlled with strong passwords and should be regularly updated. This will keep the hackers out of your system. Most departments fail to update the passwords of their hardware and users regularly. A hacker, if able to decode one password for the system can easily access all the data and make a theft. Password protection practices must consist of:
- Use of multiple passwords for multiple systems.
- Use of complicated and tough-to-guess passwords.
- Monthly update of passwords.
- Use of multi-factor authentication.
Limit the Access for Users
Your hospital must follow the rule of role-based accessibility for any hospital management software that you use. Every physician, manager, medical staff, and any related staff member must have their own username and password for the EHR system and other electronic devices. Its benefits are:
- Every user will only be able to check information relevant to them.
- Open password sharing among the staff members will be reduced.
- Logs will be maintained for every system used by any employee of the hospital. This will help in preventing the stealing and misuse of information.
Have an Antivirus Software Installed in Your Computers
The fundamental way attackers compromise the computer in a healthcare system is through viruses and trojans. Hence, having antivirus software installed in your computer system is essential in order to protect your system against malicious code that can lead to data leaks.
Moreover, it is important that your antivirus software must be up-to-date at all times. Set a timeline with your vendor to annually check and update the antivirus on all systems of your hospital.
Do Not Ignore Software Updates
It is often seen in offices and hospitals that staff usually ignore the software update notification due to their hefty schedules. However busy you may be at work, never avoid new software updates to your system.
These updates generally have updated security patches that can save your system from the latest security threats. Therefore, make sure to keep all your system and hospital software up to date and stay protected from malware.
Conduct Regular Risk Assessment
You must have heard, ‘Prevention is better than cure.’ Well, it is true and applies to the security of your healthcare system too. When you conduct regular risk assessments, you identify several points of concern such as:
- Shortcomings in the education of the medical staff.
- Inadequacies in the security presence of business associates and vendors.
- Vulnerabilities in the healthcare organization’s security.
By evaluating these risks periodically and proactively working on them, you may save yourself from unnecessary data breaches and their various other detrimental impacts.
Backup Data to an Offsite Location
Healthcare data is of tremendous importance. Hence, you must take every possible step to maintain its integrity and safety. Your data not only has threats from cyberattacks but can also impact the occurrence of a natural disaster if it isn’t backed up.
That is why it is advised to keep the backup of all the data at an offsite location. Nowadays, cloud storages are a great way to keep a backup of your data. Also, ensure the data is fully encrypted and can be accessed only by the authorized personnel.
Cybersecurity at healthcare institutions is immensely important. Implementing proper healthcare management practices will ensure data protection against all kinds of cyber thefts. Therefore, always keep a practice of executing the right security protocols and provide needed cyber-security education to your staff for worry-free healthcare business.