Digital medical record storage can be a tricky procedure. Our medical records include a lot of private information, like insurance policies, diagnoses, treatments, social security numbers and payment reports. In a general poll, a surprising 94% of healthcare providers and organizations reported some kind of digital data breach that leaked sensitive patient information. With the rise of electronic medical record storage the problem is only getting worse and people are reporting all kinds of medical, financial and identify thefts. In three years alone, a whopping 21 million people were victim to these insidious crimes caused by digital medical storage breaches. Knowing some of the main reasons why breaches happen is an excellent way to protect your confidential information. Here are 5 medical record storage safety tips.
- Outsourcing. Many healthcare facilities store their medical records with a third party. The problem with third party digital data storage facilities is that they are vastly under qualified to store sensitive and confidential documents. Moreover, there is no regulation to say who is and isn’t able to store medical records digitally; and it can be done remotely around the world where there is little, to no protection. As a healthcare provider you should always do appropriate background checks to make sure the place you are storing important medical documentation has the proper encryption software.
- Negligent employees can also endanger patient privacy. Often times, employees can be tempted to accept low payments for sneak peeks at sensitive medical information. They can also be subject to leaving files open on computers where anyone can view a patient’s medical records. The best thing you can do is conduct audits and rigorous reference checks to make sure you don’t have any high-risk employees.
- You should also avoid cloud storage of important patient medical records. Clouds storage offers convenience and user friendliness, but is also hugely risky. Cloud storage is generally only about 30% secure from possible hackers. The reason for this is, is that much of the data in cloud storage is easy to access using complicated malware. While cloud storage might seem temping, health care providers are recommended to choose other options.
- Also, when a hospital throws out old equipment they often don’t properly delete information on those devices. Thumb drives, laptops, cat scan machines, and ultrasound machines can all have delicate medical information still on them. It’s too bad that medical insurance providers, like medicalInsurance.net, don’t have protection against the theft of sensitive medical documents. And anybody can retrieve these discarded devices and pull off the information. It is recommended that you properly destroy or send these devices to an incinerator.
- Another medical record storage safety tip is to keep laptops, thumb drives and PCS secure, because they can be stolen and sensitive information can be leaked. For any responsible medical provider that doesn’t want to be held accountable in case of a breach, it is recommended to keep all computing devices with confidential information on them locked in a safe when not in use. When they are in use, it is incredibly important to not only hold regular checks, but also do background checks on the people using them.