Can We Stay HIPAA Compliant in a Digital World
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) is often referred to when discussing medical records. A health professional in your life may have even told you something along the lines of, “I can’t tell you about my horrible day honey, because HIPAA.” Before the normalization of our cellular devices being glued to our sides, HIPAA was probably easier to comply with. All one had to do was keep their work to themselves.
Today, however, we live in a digital world. One full of daily selfies, hackers, high-tech office equipment and people with sometimes questionable discretion.
With the technological advances available at many medical facilities, records are more easily searchable than ever. This can bring personal information quickly to the searcher. The quicker the information is delivered to the medical staff, the better for the patient. However, if the searcher is a nurse who wants to peek at her husbands medical records, she won’t be able to un-see his recent STD screening results.
With all of a patient’s ultra-personal information floating around in cyberspace, providers must be very careful when choosing an entity to protect their data. However, we have seen “hacking groups” crack into large banks, government data, and even high profile infidelity sites who pride themselves on secrecy. With the discord abundant over medical costs, imagining them targeting something like healthcare data wouldn’t be too much of a stretch. More about modern technologies can be found out at: http://www.medtunnel.com/.
Occasionally, there are even some medical professionals who cross the technological line. Recently a few doctors made headlines for seemingly adolescent behavior such as: taking questionable selfies with their unconscious patients. Some have suffered legal repercussions and some have even lost their jobs.
While there are numerous benefits of having such a plethora of information and storage at our fingertips, the vastness of the web makes it unimaginable to seek out and rectify a digital wrong. Once information is released, it is impossible to un-do the damage. Pictures, credit card data, health records, and so much more can all be used in some way to harm an individual. And the audience stretches world wide. Data leaks can financially, physically and emotionally destroy people. Despite the fact that laws are in place forbidding certain types of discrimination, the harsh reality is many people can and would still be fired and socially rejected if their medical history were ever released.
With economic regression and rising costs in many areas, many providers will need to evaluate how important securing their data is to their company and their patients. Securing data, discretionary training, security implementations for personal devices, and additional measures are all going to cost a great deal. The question is, will those in charge put forth the time, money and effort necessary to support this ever growing challenge?