In a series of U.S. Dept. of Health & Human Services, Office of Inspector General (OIG) audits, it was found that some hospitals lack sufficient security features, potentially exposing patients' electronic protected health information to unauthorized access. Vulnerabilities included unsecured wireless access, inadequate encryption, authentication failures, and other access control vulnerabilities.
The importance of data integrity, a component of data security, is especially impactful when it comes to handling medical records and patient information. Electronic data can be impacted because of a storage, retrieval or processing operation, including malicious intent, unexpected hardware failure, or human error. Any breach of data could result in unintended changes to the data or it falling into the wrong hands. Ensuring that patient privacy is protected and also making sure that the patient medical data used for decision making is maintained correctly are responsibilities of the hospital. A good plan for data integrity keeps hospitals and medical practices in compliance and ensures patient trust. Compromised healthcare information could lead to a misdiagnosis or an incorrect treatment.
Organizations must keep data free from corruption, being modified or disclosed without proper authorization. Some of the ways to ensure data privacy:
- Data encryption, which will convert the data into unreadable code.
- Data backup, which is the process of copying and archiving data for retrieval in case of loss.
- Access controls, which is restricting access to the data unless authenticated.
- Data validation, which means a process is in place to ensure that the data is correct when accessed.
Resource CSE Software can safely and efficiently help your organization maintain and ensure the accuracy and consistency of your health information over the life of the data. Contact Chris Thompson at 1.309.670.7595 today to find out how CSE can help your organization protect its health records and patient information.