Maintaining healthcare data privacy is a job of paramount importance for healthcare organizations today. Healthcare data is one of the most sensitive personal information available and also it is one of the most frequently breached data types, especially those that are stored in electronic form. The challenges of protecting healthcare data are continually increasing, and many organizations are finding it difficult to keep up with HIPAA and other regulations. Healthcare data breaches have different forms like cases where hackers steal Protected Health Information (PHI) for committing medical identity theft or instances where healthcare providers view health records without authorization. Data breaches cost organizations dearly, by tarnishing reputation and imposing hefty fines related to HIPAA. Healthcare organizations need to implement comprehensive data security measures for protecting patient data and keeping the hackers and other evolving threats at bay. They need to adopt more sophisticated and multifaceted approach to protect the data in use, at rest or in transit.
Social media has a profound impact on every aspect of our lives be it communication, travel or healthcare. Every industry is making use of social media, in some way or other and healthcare is no exception. Mobile phones and applications play a crucial role in our lives by allowing people to research symptoms, medications, doctors etc. Social media has become a major tool for sharing healthcare related information, including opinions on different therapies, reviews about doctors, people’s experiences with illness and many more. Internet provides plethora of health related information at our fingertips and many of that information is consumed through social media.
Impact of Social Media on Healthcare Providers
Healthcare providers are significantly benefitted by the social media. It helps them not only in social networking but also in patient education and information sharing. A number of practitioners have claimed that social media usage has helped them in their career advancement and staying updated about the latest findings and information. However, there are a few hindrances in this aspect too which include time requirements, employer backlash, fear of saying something wrong, and being unversed with the technology. Still social media is perceived as a tool for getting low-cost health information and as an opportunity to reach out to relevant communities. Some of the providers have also claimed that social media helps them improve the quality of healthcare. However, for healthcare providers too, social media is not risk free. Indulgence in social media should be in compliance with HIPAA regulations. Also, there could be legal as well as ethical issues for the usage of social media by healthcare providers.
With the implementation of new technologies, adoption of electronic health record technology and association with health information exchanges, more healthcare organizations are exposing themselves to HIPAA data breaches and other online threats. In this scenario Protected Health Information (PHI), in addition to being available to the concerned people, is also becoming more and more accessible to hackers and unauthorized third parties. This means covered entities and business associates need to stay updated about the advancing technologies to maintain PHI security. Understanding the basics and underlying reasons for HIPAA data breach is the first step in creating comprehensive data security plans which the healthcare organizations can apply to their daily operations. Continue reading “Rules And Regulations Surrounding HIPAA Data Breach”