Issues of privacy and data security are concerns across almost every industry. While advances in digital technology have increased the accessibility of key information, it also increases the risk that data will be compromised by an internal or external force. And these concerns are no more realized than in the healthcare industry.
Regulations and restrictions as set forth in the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) provide a framework regarding the proper management and protection of critical health data in patient files. Here, privacy is paramount. Sensitive information, including personally identifiable information (PII), requires notable efforts regarding its security and its dissemination to authorized personnel. Failures in the area of data privacy can leave organizations vulnerable to significant fines and additional civil and criminal penalties.
With the risks to digital records seemingly so high, the systems must provide a significant benefit to justify their use. And one of the biggest benefits relates to costs.
Financial Benefits of Digital Records
The storage and maintenance of digital records are notably less cumbersome than their paper counterparts. Multiple personnel can access information simultaneously, and information can be provided to authorize outside parties with ease. Care can be coordinated between multiple providers without the risks associated with delayed reports or feedback regarding a single patient’s current treatment plan.
Additionally, the information can be accessed whenever and wherever it is needed. This eliminates delays in care related solely to a lack of suitable information to ensure the proper care is administered.
While the high level of accessibility may streamline business operations, it also increases concerns regarding how the data is used and protected. Patients provide sensitive information to healthcare providers on a daily basis, including PII, relating to the current nature of their health. Since the amount of trust required to supply those details is generally high, it is important for organizations to err on the side of maintaining privacy over increased efficiency.
In some cases, both confidentiality and efficiency work hand-in-hand. Multiple facilities in a single healthcare system can store records with a single, accessible access point. This allows the activities of many working within the facilities to be coordinated to create the best possible care experience.
But the ease at which these records can be transferred increases concerns it will be seen by someone who either has no reason or is not authorized to see it. Combine those fears with recent attempts by insurance companies to access patient data for advanced analytics and price modeling, and many patients may feel more vulnerable as time passes.
To compensate for the perceived risks, patients will look to their healthcare providers to ensure their data is properly secured, and that access is only provided when it is absolutely necessary. Living up to the standard can feel challenging, so having the proper policies in place to protect the rights of those who divulge their information is a critical best practice within every organization.
Do you need IT professionals to help you keep your data more secure?
If you are looking to improve the privacy and security of your organization’s data or need skilled IT professionals to help create an improved data management system, Solving IT has the knowledge required to locate the ideal employees for your needs. Contact us today and see what our services can do for you.