All Posts in Category: Patient Privacy

Portrait of three uniformed doctors not being optimistic about the healthcare system. Check out these HIPAA Settlements.

“Two recent HIPAA settlements should remind health care industry to stay vigilant,” attorneys say

“Two recent HIPAA settlements should remind health care industry to stay vigilant,” attorneys say.

Health care providers need to be mindful of two recent major Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) settlements to avoid being similarly targeted, two industry attorneys say.

“Health care providers need to stay vigilant and proactive in maintaining HIPAA compliance in all facets of operations,” Bruce D. Armon and Karilynn Bayus, both of Saul Ewing in Philadelphia, said in a joint email to Legal Newsline.

Regular internal self-audits of HIPAA compliance and active review of policies and procedures and forms can help ensure good conduct. Mistakes can always occur.

“Creating and maintaining a committed culture of compliance can help mitigate circumstances that can lead to HIPAA investigations and/or payment of fines and entering into a corrective action plan.”

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Dancing with HIPAA Compliance

Selfies, Videos, and Social Media: Dancing with HIPAA Compliance Dangers Dental Practice

If your practice is like many others, you’re doing the HIPAA compliance dance. You may not know all the moves, but you’re trying your best to follow along and get it right. And that’s the problem! There are SO many moves. There are hundreds of pages of rules and regulations that you need to know and understand. Most dental practices are so busy that it’s hard to find the time to handle this effectively.

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Dangers of Unsecure Texting HIPAA

Minimizing Mobile Risks in Healthcare

Minimizing emerging threats to mobile devices and applications should be a top health data breach prevention priority for 2016!

“What we’re seeing from the new [threat] vector perspective is that a lot of mobile is coming to the spotlight,” says Bowen, chief privacy and security officer and founder of the security firm ClearDATA.

“We’ve seen this trend for the last few years where we can use a mobile device in an incredibly effective way to enable healthcare to deliver amazing patient care,” he says in an interview with Information Security Media Group. “Some of the greatest innovations happen that way. Unfortunately, at times, the mobile device has been enabled with great software that doesn’t necessarily consider the entire ecosystem from a hardening perspective.”

The only way to stay ahead of emerging threats is to “employ a security-first strategy, make sure you’re doing vendor diligence, and make sure you’re implementing a defense-in-depth strategy that considers every layer of security,” he says.

For instance, healthcare organizations need to realize that mobile software may be storing logs that could contain personally identifiable information for a patient. Also, “you may be incorporating data flows from inside and outside that application that may not be hardened,” he notes.

Additionally, mobile data is at risk “because people are still lugging laptops around without encryption,” he notes.

In fact, about one-third of incidents listed on the Department of Health and Human Services “wall of shame” website of major health data breaches affecting 500 or more individuals since September 2009 involve unencrypted lost or stolen laptops or other portable electronic devices.

It’s also important to vet technology suppliers, he stresses. “We see new entrants into the healthcare market – and sometimes that’s a great thing, and other times it’s shocking how lax the security can be, even from security vendors who really claim to embrace a security-in-depth strategy.”

Other Threats

In developing strategies to fight against hacker attacks, which were pervasive in 2015, organizations need to take steps to make sure social engineering tactics fail, he says. “Hackers are really going after the easiest targets first,” he points out. “It’s not about stealing a database of credentials. It’s more about stealing credentials one phishing email or keystroke logger at a time.”

In the interview, Bowen also discusses:

  • Other security weaknesses that make healthcare organization easy targets for cyberattacks, and what those entities can do to bolster security;
  • How healthcare entities can better prevent and detect breaches involving insiders, including members of their workforce as well as business associates;
  • Three lessons that can be learned from the top healthcare breaches in 2015.

Bowen is the chief privacy and security officer and founder of security firm ClearDATA. He manages the risks and business impacts faced by global healthcare organizations, with a specific focus on cyberthreats, privacy violations, security incidents, social engineering attempts and data breaches. Bowen is a Certified Information Privacy Professional,Certified Information Privacy Technologist and Certified Information Systems Security Professional.

Full interview here

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3 Things to consider before migrating to the Cloud

Cloud computing grows more popular by the day, and it continues to show its value to the healthcare industry. Being able to dynamically access content while online is a great asset. But, of course, this doesn’t come without taking some risks and gambling your data’s security. Thankfully, there are some ways in which you can tip the odds in your favor.

To help you successfully leverage your technology to meet the needs of your organization without compromising your data’s security, we’ve assembled three common risks that are typically associated with Cloud solutions, and how to successfully avoid them.

Number 1: Data Theft
The most obvious risk to your organization’s data, and any information that’s stored online, is data theft, and other types of hacks that could compromise or even corrupt your mission-critical information. No matter how small or large your organization is, it’s a target for hackers and threats of all kinds, especially in the online environment.

It’s important that you understand that there’s no way to ensure that your practice’s data is 100 percent protected from all types of threats found on the Internet. It’s just not feasible. As long as your organization’s data is stored in an online environment, there’s always going to be a possibility (no matter how slim) that a hacker will get their hands on your data. What you can do, however, is optimize your network and Cloud security to ensure that this possibility is minimal at best. To find out more information about online data security, contact CAM and ask us about our comprehensive security solutions for the online environment.

Number 2: Compliance Violation
Many organizations in specific industries are subject to compliance laws pertaining to the storage and sharing of sensitive information. Due to the nature of cloud storage, using it to store sensitive information in an online environment can have unexpected complications. For example, if this information were to be compromised, what would you do? Depending on the situation, you will be required to inform the victim of the breach, and/or be subject to a costly fine.

Naturally, it’s your responsibility to ensure that your systems are meeting the compliance standards set by your industry. Depending on what type of orperation you run, there are specific criteria that must be met for any kind of sensitive information stored online. Chances are that if your organization collects this information, you’re subject to compliance laws that are often convoluted and difficult to understand. CAM HIPAA Solutions can help make this easier.

Number 3: Immense Downtime
If your practice only stores information in the Cloud, what would happen if that information were suddenly unavailable due to downtime? Hosting your data in the Cloud demands that you need an Internet connection; if this is lost, you’ll be staring downtime in the eyes. This, in essence, is major roadblock that can set your organization behind schedule, break your operations budget, and overall, become quite a nuisance.

This is the reason why you want your information stored in multiple locations; you should be able to access your organization’s data and mission-critical applications from both online and offline systems. This minimizes downtime and improves mobility, which is invaluable for remote workers.

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5 Best Practices for Mobile Device Security in Healthcare

The specter of HIPAA is at the back of every health care provider’s mind, every day, in every interaction. Providers must constantly question if the information they are sharing, and how they are sharing it, falls within the law’s privacy guidelines. If they aren’t following the rules, they know, they could face significant fines and other consequences.

Yet for many providers, the same care and consideration that they give to conversations, emails, and other interactions doesn’t always extend to their mobile device use. Often, it’s assumptions about the security of their devices, as in, they believe that they are more secure than they really are, that leads to potential HIPAA violations, not to mention, creating the risk of a data breach. For that reason, it’s important that health care providers, and facilities, make mobile device security a bigger priority, in order to protect patient information and confidentiality.

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8 Examples of a HIPAA violation

8 Examples of HIPAA Violations

HIPAA, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, was passed to protect an employee’s health insurance coverage when they lose or change jobs. It also has provisions to ensure the privacy and confidentiality of identifiable health information.

Everyone’s medical situation is different; however, this article strives to help define HIPAA by providing you with an overview of some common HIPAA violations experienced by health care providers and patients. Links to HFailure to adhere to the authorization expiration date – Patients can set a date when their authorization expires. A violation would be releasing confidential records after that date.
Failure to promptly release information to patients – According to HIPAA, a patient has the right to receive electronic copies of medical records on demand.
Improper disposal of patient records – Shredding is necessary before disposing of patient’s record.
Insider snooping – This refers to family members or co-workers looking into a person’s medical records without authorization. This can be avoided with password protection, tracking systems and clearance levels.
Missing patient signature – Any HIPAA forms without the patient’s signature is invalid, so releasing information would be a violation.
Releasing information to an undesignated party – Only the exact person listed on the authorization form may receive patient information.
Releasing unauthorized health information – This refers to releasing the wrong document that has not been approved for release. A patient has the right to release only parts of their medical record.
Releasing wrong patient’s information – Through a careless mistake, someone releases information to the wrong patient. This sometimes happens when two patients have the same or similar name.
Right to revoke clause – Any forms a patient signs need to have a Right to Revoke clause or the form is invalid. Therefore, any information released to a third party would be in violation of HIPAA regulations.
Unprotected storage of private health information – A good example of this is a laptop that is stolen. Private information stored electronically needs to be stored on a secure device. This applies to a laptop, thumbnail drive, or any other mobile device.IPAA experts are provided at the end of this article for your specific questions.

8 Common HIPAA Violations

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