As a physician, providing high-quality patient care isn’t the only priority of your practice. In the modern age of digital health recording, protecting your patient’s private health information is a mandatory and legal obligation of every healthcare provider. While putting the time and resources into maintaining your cybersecurity practices may seem like a daunting (and exhausting) task, we want to shed some light on the importance of protecting yourself and your patients from potential information leaks and hacks.
Health Information Leaks are on the Rise
With thousands of physicians reporting, documenting, and accessing confidential health files every day across the province, it is no surprise that there are plenty of potentially vulnerable points to data leaks. Each of these weak points could allow hundreds or thousands of personal health reports, social security numbers, and individual identification documents to be leaked to businesses or individuals that may not have your patient’s best interests in mind. Unfortunately, despite our increased reliance on digital healthcare software, health information leaks are steadily on the rise.
According to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), 2020 has had the most health information leaks of any year before it, with 642 unique leaks that exposed 500 or more individual patient records. Between the years 2009 - 2020, over 268,189,693 individual health records have been leaked without patient consent, which is roughly equal to 81% of the population of the United States.
Cybersecurity is essential for not just your practice, but also for the safety and privacy of your patients. With this in mind, here are the five things you need to know about digital health data protection:
Health Information Breaches are Incredibly Serious
Even minor health information leaks can be devastating for your patients. Commonly leaked by people looking to make a profit, health files containing personal information like social security and credit card numbers can easily be sold to less than reputable buyers for a pretty penny. While the loss of this personal information is damaging for the patient going through it, it can also have major negative push backs for your practice as well. A history of patient information leaks taints any trust your patients may have with you, resulting in loss of patients and negative reviews online.
Outdated Safety Practices are a Common Source of Leak
Despite the increasing importance of adequate cybersecurity practices, healthcare is one of the worst industries for keeping up with modern security technologies. On top of using outdated software, many physicians are not provided with much education about the best practices to maintain their personal digital security. From reused and simple passwords to incredibly outdated versions of documenting and billing software, there are plenty of potential sources for patient information leaks on almost every device used to record sensitive health information.
Not All Software or Contractors is Built Equal
With the best of intentions, many physicians turn to third-party software or start-up businesses to help them manage their online documentation. And while many high-quality third-party services like billing agencies and report management software offer fantastic cybersecurity benefits to physicians across the province, not all of these services are built equally. We always advise physicians to do some research into who or what they are using to manage their online records to prevent the additional headache of a leak coming from the third party.
You Will Likely Be Held Liable in the Event of a Leak
If the worst-case scenario does occur and you experience a leak of patient information, you will likely be held liable. Even if you hire additional support to manage your digital security, at the end of the day, your practice and name will be held responsible for any lost information. Because of this, staying on top of your digital presence is absolutely mandatory to protect both your patients and yourself from any legal nightmares.
You Don’t Have To Tackle Cybersecurity Alone
If you are feeling overwhelmed about how to best protect yourself and your patients from online health information leaks, you are not alone. As a medical billing and health software development company, we have worked with physicians across the province in a similar position of stress and confusion.
Started by a group of physicians who wanted to push the envelope on medical data safety and security, ResolvMD was created to bring simple and effective solutions to the medical billing space.
With liability issues and personal health information leaks on the rise, we developed our billing tools with security first solutions in mind:
- Privacy Impact Assessment (PIA) — Designed in conjunction with a privacy consultant, we annually address and reorganize our tools to improve our risk parameters and reduce exposures.
- Cloud Service Architecture — Hosted on the same security networks trusted by data giants like Amazon and Google, every one of our servers is secure to reduce the risk of information leakage.
- Systems & Processing Controls — Using CyberClan to test our robust cloud security system, all information is guarded by 2FA and secure passwords we regularly change for enhanced protection.
- Insuring Against Exposures — We work with physicians to ensure that they have the correct type and amount of insurance to cover potential data leaks, so they aren’t left in the dark should a data event occur.
Our commitment to high-quality service and accessible digital services is one of the reasons why many physicians trust us to keep their practices, and their patients, safe.
Connect With Us Today
Are you interested in learning more about digital security in the healthcare space? We would love to connect with you! If you are looking to protect your patient’s valuable health information from potentially damaging leaks, our purposefully designed solutions are the simple and effective resource that you need.
ResolvMD is an experienced full service medical billing company that empowers physicians to bill more efficiently through data-derived insights and democratized knowledge. We believe you should be as confident and competent in your billing as you are in your practice. Our proprietary Physician Insights Portal harnesses the power of data to deliver customized insights directly to you in real time. No more second guessing or feeling like you don’t have the transparency and accountability that you deserve. Paired with the most modern and secure platform on the market, you can rest easy knowing that we are taking care of all your billing needs while fine tuning your ability to understand best practices and earn what you deserve.