Health Information Management (HIM) is a crucial aspect of healthcare that involves the collection, organization,…
The safety and security of medical records is a critical issue in the healthcare industry. Medical data contains sensitive personal information that must be kept secure and private at all times. As technology continues to evolve, so too do the methods for storing this data.
However, it’s important to ensure that these storage systems meet the highest standards of privacy and security. In this article, we’ll discuss some best practices for safely storing medical records in order to protect patients’ confidential information from unauthorized access or misuse.
We’ll also look at how technological advancements are making it easier than ever before to securely store patient data without sacrificing convenience or efficiency.
Storage units and outside resources
Storage units are great options in highly secure areas. If you are comfortable with the area, then you are probably in the right place for a storage unit. Even within the storage units, if in cabinets, they need to be locked and away from unauthorized eyes. Unfortunately, without this added step you put yourself and your patients at potential future risk.
Primary digital storage
Digital storage is at higher risk for potential future issues because of the variety of access points and the potential for hacked devices. Devices that are at higher risk include personal computers, tablets, mobile phones, etc. Ensure that if you are using these devices regularly for accessing your records or have crucial information on them, they are properly secured as well.
Even just adding an extra step through two-step authentication or even three-step authentication lowers risk greatly. Also, this goes without saying, but password variation is crucial. Connecting all of your documents with relevant phrases and keys will lower security. Overall, managing physical documents may be more difficult to update, but are also more secure. Consider which route is best for your practice.
Securing documents in a business transition process
Also, practices close of course. You’ll have to even more mindful of your documents when you are closing your practice or selling it to an incoming practitioner. In either case, be sure your documents are settled as far in advance as possible.
Tips on Storing Your Medical Records According to HIPPAA
HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) is a set of regulations that govern how protected health information (PHI) is shared, stored, and accessed. It is important for healthcare organizations to ensure they are in compliance with HIPAA when it comes to storing medical records. Here are some best practices organizations should follow:
● Encryption: Encryption is one of the most effective ways to protect data and ensure compliance with HIPAA. All PHI stored on servers, laptops, or other devices should be encrypted using an approved encryption algorithm. This will help prevent unauthorized access to sensitive data in the event that a device is stolen or lost.
● Access Controls: Organizations should also use access controls to limit who has access to sensitive patient data. This will help ensure that only authorized personnel can view and edit PHI. Passwords should be changed regularly, and administrative privileges should only be granted to those who need them.
● Audit Logs: Audit logs are another important way of ensuring HIPAA compliance. Organizations should keep track of all who access PHI, when they access it, and what changes are made. This will help organizations identify any unauthorized access or misuse of patient data.
● Backup Strategy: Having a backup strategy in place is critical for protecting medical records from loss or damage due to system failure or natural disasters. Organizations should have a plan in place to regularly back up data and store it securely in an off-site location.
By following these best practices, healthcare organizations can ensure they are compliant with HIPAA regulations and properly secure patient data from unauthorized access or misuse. Additionally, technological advancements such as cloud storage and encryption algorithms make it easier than ever for organizations to store data securely and access it quickly when needed.
Overall, for consultation on how to proceed, give us at Datalink ITS a call today. We’ll assess your unique situation and practice to ensure we provide the best course of action ahead.