BlackPoint Healthcare Series: How to Protect Your Practice and Stay HIPAA Compliant

Healthcare Medical IT Services

In the final installment of our 3-part Healthcare Series, we explore how to protect your Medical technology and your practice from cyber-attacks.

Telemedicine is revolutionizing healthcare through improved quality and convenience. The benefits to care facilities are too great not to be taken advantage of, but the risk should not be ignored. Because telemedicine produces a sea of new data to be accounted for and secured, the technology is not without its risk.

Ransomware works by infecting a computer, locking users out of the system (usually by encrypting the data on the hard drive), and then holding the decryption or other release key hostage until the victim pays a fee, typically in Bitcoin. Relying on access to accurate information from EMRs in order to provide critical care, the healthcare industry has emerged as a popular target for ransomware extortion largely because the stakes are so high. With an urgent need to restore service for their patients, hospitals are more likely to pay criminals in order to reinstate critical systems.

The healthcare industry has emerged as a popular target for ransomware extortion largely because the stakes are so high. With an urgent need to restore for patients, hospitals are more likely to pay criminals to reinstate critical systems. These attacks prove that enterprise-grade, layered security is a necessity for every organization. Malware can evade legacy AV, which is why services like intrusion prevention, sandboxing, and detection and response are so critical: no single solution is going to provide 100% coverage.

 

Healthcare Campaign

 

Achieving and maintaining regulatory compliance is critical in the healthcare industry, enabling facilities to reduce risk and increase patient confidence. Failure to comply with regional standards ranges in fines from hundreds, to upwards of millions of dollars, to say nothing of the costly loss of credibility and potential revocation of medical licenses.

Regulatory compliance standards can be achieved leveraging UTM security appliances, as they provide necessary segmentation of network traffic. Network visibility tools offer the ability to set alerts and automated reports on security events that are relevant to compliance standards, including data leakage, malware, and unauthorized user access.

Maintaining Compliance and Accreditation Mandated by a universal need for safe and quality care, healthcare organizations in every region around the world must adhere to national or local privacy regulations and hospital accreditation programs. Introduced in 1996, HIPAA – the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act – set the standard for protecting patient data in the U.S. As part of this legislation, privacy and security rules were established, specifying safeguards that must be implemented to protect the confidentiality and integrity of Protected Health Information (PHI.) Initially, only doctors, hospitals, and insurance companies were required to comply with HIPAA specifications, however a 2013 update increased the scope of HIPAA to address the increased use of outsourcing and cloud providers in healthcare. Any service that transmits, stores, or receives PHI data is now categorized as a “Business Associate” and must comply with HIPAA – failure to do so ranges in fines from hundreds to upwards of millions of dollars, to say nothing of the costly loss of credibility and potential revocation of medical licenses.

Internationally, JCI (Joint Commission International) is also focused on improving patient safety – through education, advisory services, and accreditation – in more than 100 countries. The accreditation program involves an on-site survey conducted by a commission team at least once every three years, and focuses on the overall quality and safety of a facility’s healthcare delivery, including its IT program. Though the organization has no concrete power to enforce its standards, many regions within the U.S., for example, require hospitals to achieve Joint Commission accreditation in order to even be eligible for licensing and Medicare reimbursement.

A 2013 update increased the scope of HIPAA to address the increased use of outsourcing and cloud providers in healthcare.

 

Bottom Line

The potential of emerging technology within the healthcare sector is boundless, transforming care delivery, patient satisfaction, and the very industry itself. With intuitive solutions from BlackPoint IT Services, healthcare quality and equipment can continue to evolve – securely.

 

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