Last year a major healthcare insurer had their database of 80 million records hacked, requiring investigations by local and federal authorities. To help prevent a security breach of this nature at your healthcare facility, it’s critical to secure authentication in healthcare systems, technology and personnel in compliance with HIPAA.

HIPAA compliance requires that your organization perform a risk analysis to identify potential risks, and clarify how your infrastructure will diminish these risks by verifying an individual’s identity as they access your system.

The following solutions and tips can help your institution regularly authenticate that an employee signing into a computer is authorized to access it, and that the data is being encrypted or decrypted as it is stored or transmitted during an interaction.

HIPAA Requirements

Employees must regularly authenticate their identity throughout their shifts to ensure they align with the requirements outlined by HIPAA to protect sensitive patient records and information. Healthcare security starts by following these requirements:

  • Sensitive and protected health information that’s shared with another staff member or business associate must be safely guarded.
  • Effective password management must be used to require strong passwords for internal access and two-factor authentication for remote access by employees, administrators and third parties.
  • Unique user identification must be required for every employee to ensure proper and convenient access across systems and devices, which also ensures that each individual is held accountable for their actions.
  • Proper asset management should outline the policies and procedures governing which users have access to which assets. This requirement should also take into account large-scale deployments and the potential problems associated with them.

These rules are put in place by the Department of Health and Human Services to guarantee the safety of patients’ sensitive healthcare information and to better organize how different providers are protecting their information.

Compliance Solutions

According to Omar Hussain, president and CEO of Imprivata, “As healthcare goes digital, critical clinical workflows are using simple, sometimes generic user names and passwords to provide access, making patient information easily vulnerable to hacking.” In order to ensure secure authentication in healthcare, organizations must work with healthcare providers to simplify the process based on its institutional goals.

Imprivata, for instance, offers solutions for healthcare compliance with VDI endpoints, password management, two-factor authentication and more. This helps healthcare providers to be more productive and focused on delivering care, as opposed to spending too much time accessing patient records, communicating with colleagues and entering prescription orders online. With a focus on compliance, security, accuracy and data organization, it promotes secure communication between providers, clinics, rehab facilities, hospitals, long-term care facilities and other third-party organizations.

With care providers spending more time delivering direct patient care, IT satisfying regulatory requirements by securing important health information and clinical leadership getting meaningful use out of their info, everyone benefits from the right partner solution and more accurate compliance.

Looking for more resources on top hospital IT concerns, such as enhancing the patient experience and streamlining workflows? Visit our solutions page.

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Brian Honigman

Brian Honigman is the CEO of Honigman Media, a content consultancy that provides strategy on content marketing and content creation services. Brian is a regular contributor to the Wall Street Journal, Forbes, the World Economic Forum and other publications. He is a frequent professional speaker at industry conferences and company events about social media, content marketing and related topics, having spoken at UNICEF, NYU, HuffPost Live and elsewhere. Follow Brian on Twitter: @brianhonigman

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