Information security for quality practice support

News

BY Jennifer Morency | 12 September 2019

Information security, especially in a practice setting, is of the utmost importance. The private data within patient records, filled out by both patient and healthcare provider should be encrypted at all stages.

This means that during the input of the information, the data storage within the online file, software and server and the sharing of the information should all be highly secure. Only specific people with the right permissions should have access to it.

General practice security issues

Unfortunately, the threat of cybercrime is growing significantly in Australia’s healthcare data sector. Malicious software and technology scams are at an all-time high, resulting in business and clinical data being put at constant risk.

When implementing clinical information software, general practices need to ensure they have information security protocols and procedures in place. Protecting information assets means allocating adequate financial and human resources to ensure provision of safe and high-quality management of the practice and its data.

The practice’s CIS in place should support quality practice in terms of:

  • Access controls
  • Identity management
  • Failover
  • Role-based permissions
  • Data security

It is also important to train staff when it comes to understanding how possible security threats or breaches can arise to diminish potential risks. In fact, the leading threat to general practice information security stems from internal breaches caused by human error or malicious intent. By ensuring there are data security procedures in place to diminish lost, stolen or inappropriately used data, general practices are better equipped to protect themselves from cybercrime and online threats.

Reducing security risks

To reduce the risk of security breaches and data hacks, it is important to establish protocols and role-based permissions for staff. Rigorous access controls are the best way to protect general practice data.

General practice staff often only need access to the minimum data needed to fulfil their role. With a software that can manage who has access to what through appropriate security measures, practices can ensure access to CIS is secure and controlled.

It is important to note that security measures need to be constantly updated, requiring staff to input new strong and unique passwords every three months, for example. These also allow practices to monitor and ensure accountability for who accessed and entered specific practice data for audits.

Another way to ensure your practice reduces their security risks is setting up software in the cloud. This eliminates security risks and hassles linked to in-house storage, including needing to regularly back up critical data and secure data from unauthorised access. It also includes ensuring there are copies in a second location in case the general practice is victim of theft or a natural disaster.

Switching to a cloud-based software provides additional security over the patient record that is not available in a medical practice. The security risk of a server sitting under the reception desk with the administrator username and password taped to the top is too great in today’s environment of ransomware and the value placed on data privacy.

Cloud-based technology can also automatically update and upgrade your software, ensuring hardware is continuously supported and further protecting important clinical data from data breaches.