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Don't Overlook How Critical Patient Privacy Is

Although your hospital makes the health of its patients a top priority, online privacy issues could harm your patients in other ways. From medical reco...

Admin
|Apr 10|magazine10 min read

Although your hospital makes the health of its patients a top priority, online privacy issues could harm your patients in other ways.

From medical records hacking to online security issues, there are a number of ways your patients' security can become compromised.

Here are just a few ways to protect your patients and your hospital from security threats.

Hacking Threats for Hospitals

If you're hospital is taking a lax approach to its online security measures, there's never been a better time than now to increase security measures. There are a growing number of cyber criminals targeting hospitals, more specifically, patient records.

Hackers aren't in it for the medical records, but they do want the personal patient information that goes along with those records.

When Community Health Systems was hacked in 2014, hackers stole addresses, phone numbers, and social security numbers from patients in over 200 hospitals in 29 states across the U.S.

[READ MORE] How to Defend Your Hospital Against IT Security Breaches

Cybercrime is quickly becoming a problem in the U.S. health care system.

As the following article looks at, there are ways you can better protect your hospital's digital records while also easing patient apprehension about privacy issues.

Stay Up to Date with HIPAA

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) continuously updates its security rules and regulations. These rules aren't in place to disrupt your hospital's digital livelihood, but rather strengthen its security measures.

HIPAA has compliance standards that it encourages every hospital in the United States to follow. By keeping your staff trained on the latest HIPAA compliances, you can ensure all necessary data security measures are being taken.

Install the Latest Antiviral Software

This probably goes without saying, but it's surprising how many hospitals and clinics across the country neglect their security software. Downloading antiviral and anti-malware software is one thing, but keeping it updated is something else entirely.

Hackers come up with new ways to breach even the most updated security programs available. By continuously updating your security software with the most recent downloads available, your hospital can fend off attacks and keep hackers at bay.

Stop Using Unsupported Operating Systems

Operating systems change all the time, especially in the medical world. The problem with this scenario is, once an operating system is replaced with a new edition, the support for the old system usually falls by the wayside.

[READ MORE] Why Hackers are Targeting the Health Care Industry

This includes active security updates.

If your hospital is using an out-of-date operating system, it's time to upgrade to the most recent edition. Doing so will provide you with the most current safety features the operating system provides.

Avoid Using Social Security Numbers for Identity Purposes

If your hospital uses its patients' social security numbers as a primary form of identification, it's time to stop. Social security numbers are the top prize for hackers and they will stop at nothing to gain access to them.

Using other identification codes for patient records like unique 5 to 10 digit numbers or a combination of the patient's first and last name will attract less attention from the hacking world.

If the social security number is a necessity, try getting by with the last 4 digits. Stolen social security numbers will cause major issues for your hospital and its patients.

When it comes to keeping your patients safe, don't overlook the security measures above.

About the author: Adam Groff is a freelance writer and creator of content. He writes on a variety of topics including personal health and online security.

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