Importance of Security in Healthcare Analytics

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23 June 2015

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Healthcare records contain some of the most personal and highly sensitive pieces of data floating in cyberspace. Electronic health records (EHRs) allow for greater information sharing between healthcare payers and providers, but they also put patient privacy at risk. A healthcare data breach could be devastating to impacted patients, and healthcare payers and providers must do everything they can to protect the safety and security of that information.

System Security Features for the EHR Age

EHR and healthcare analytics systems require distinct security features to ensure patient privacy. When developing a plan to protect patient data, healthcare companies should always utilize:

  • Role-based access that ensures only the healthcare workers who need access to specific patient data can reach that information.
  • Indicators for patients of VIP status.
  • The ability to assign aliases to patients in specific instances.
  • The ability to block access to specific pieces of a record (names, social security numbers, financial information, notes, lab results, etc.).
  • Thorough audit tracking of the individuals who access specific pieces of data (both on staff and among vendors).
  • Anonymity for the release of sensitive information (i.e. patient identity when sharing outbreak information with the CDC).
  • Vendor controls that allow software support staff to perform necessary functions without accessing specific data sets.

Is Remote Access Adequately Protected?

There are times when data must be accessed outside of a hospital or physician’s office. Remote access of patient records can leave data extremely vulnerable. Information on company-owned laptops or tablets that have been removed from the building must be secured at all times. IT security teams must be certain that remote access to the health system’s network is always secure. They must also track, encrypt and add double-or-triple verification systems to mobile and wireless devices used to access the company network, to protect data in the event a device is lost or stolen.

Health Insurance Companies

With a number of states taking part in All-Payer Claims Databases, the amount of managed care claims data available for consumers as well as insurance companies to create cost-effective healthcare plans. Health insurance companies can compare their own data with other payers in the region for benchmarking purposes. All of that data in one location demands the best security along with confidentiality of patient data, that uses codes to keep everything private.

Don’t Ignore Email Systems

Patient data and analytics information transferred over email is also extremely vulnerable. Email is often the first point of entry for nefarious attacks on corporate systems. All email and autofax transmissions should be encrypted, tracked and audited to ensure security standards are constantly met.

Ongoing Training For Data Security Staff

Healthcare information security is a rapidly changing environment. Internal support teams must be properly trained on all systems and protocols. This training should occur at regular, ongoing intervals. Healthcare organizations should also have emergency protocols in place in case of a data breach. Security policies and procedures should be documented in writing, and must be updated on a regular basis.

If your healthcare company is looking to build a team of highly skilled data security and data analytics professionals, contact Onboard Recruitment Advisers today. As a big data recruiting firm, we can help you improve your hiring process to connect you with qualified and vetted professionals who understand the importance of security in healthcare information, and they come to the table with the experience to keep your systems safe and secure.

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