7 Considerations For Protecting Patient Data

8 Oct 2014 by Insight Editor

Injured man using a smartphone

Every year, there are several stories that appear on the evening news because of a breach in patient health data tied to a specific hospital or health system. Although the technology to secure and protect the data exists today, these solutions are not widely being adopted properly. How can health IT executives ensure that their organizations are adopting and applying best practices in information security? How can IT professionals collaborate with the clinical staff to minimize the risk of data breaches? Take a look at these 7 security considerations for protecting patient information:

Mobile Computing and BYOD

What types of mobile devices are your clinicians using? Do you support BYOD? Is there a chance that your clinical staff may be accessing and storing patient data on an unencrypted mobile device? The theft of unencrypted notebook PCs containing protected health information continues to be a leading cause of patient data breaches in this country.

Windows 8 provides a comprehensive approach to meeting mobility, productivity and collaboration goals within hospital and practice settings. HP in collaboration with Intel and Microsoft recently released a new fleet of enterprise Windows 8 mobile computers ranging from EliteBook Notebook PCs and ProBook Notebook PCs to Tablet PCs that are designed to meet the needs of the busy clinician who is constantly on-the-go. For example, the sleek ElitePad 900 offers several optional accessories designed to provide flexibility based on clinical workflow needs. The Intel architecture with built-in security features combined with the Windows 8 environment provide a high level of data encryption and security on mobile Tablet PCs.

Virtualization

By supporting virtualization, health IT executives can effectively control information security while providing clinicians with convenient access to patient data. Client Virtualization provides a secure solution for BYOD while improving clinician productivity and driving down costs. Client Virtualization uses proven methodology enabling industry leading performance, availability, and security. Client Virtualization also provides reference architectures for servers, storage, networking, and a wide range of software from midrange to high-end.

Cloud Computing

These days, the highest level of information security is offered by modern cloud computing solutions. It provides an environment for rapidly deploying EHR applications. These solutions utilize an open, heterogeneous and extensible healthcare application architecture. ClearDATA Networks, an HP partner, offers medical archiving, EMR-as-a-service, off-site backup, and more. They utilize a robust, trusted, purpose-built platform on Converged Cloud. Microsoft Office 365 is a major cloud business productivity solution that addresses the rigorous HIPAA regulations and offers a HIPAA Business Associate Agreement (BAA) to customers, allowing healthcare organizations to reap the benefits of the cloud without the security risk.

Data Backup and Protection

The use of EHRs is leading to a massive amount of structured and unstructured patient health data. Protecting all this information can be a significant challenge as databases grow and require backups. HP Storage provides an efficient storage solution for managing the rapidly growing database of structured and unstructured health data. It also offers a fast solution for EHR and PACS data backup and protection.

Passwords and Single Sign On

Many clinicians are not vigilant about using strong passwords or protecting their passwords. If some of your clinicians are still using Post-It notes with passwords written on them, it is time to implement alternative sign on solutions that will maximize data security. HealthCast and Imprivata offer an effective solution for virtualization and Single Sign On and Tap & Go. These solutions can significantly improve clinical workflow efficiency while maintaining secure access to patient information.

Secure Network

These networking solutions offer industry leading data center performance while maintaining data security in wired and wireless environments. Provide reliable, robust wireless access for medical applications for clinicians who need to stay connected as they move around the hospital. Networking solutions offer unified wired and wireless management features to streamline health IT management.

Secure Printing

Although hospitals operate in the digital era, there is still a need for paper. There is a need for secure and mobile printing solutions that improve workflow security and compliance with HIPAA standards and regulations. Add secure driver-less printing to your mobile environment with mobile printing solutions. Offer secure prescription printing on plain paper through secure document print. Secure printed prescriptions to comply with CMS requirements. Simplify workflow and improve quality of care while achieving meaningful use objectives for prescription issuance.

Authored by:
Keri LaRue
Catalyst Marketing, HP