7 Data Privacy Problems Facing the Healthcare Industry (And How to Solve Them With Solarity)

solaradmin | January 25th, 2021

Are you confident in your health information management security? Did you know over 500 healthcare data record breaches occurred in 2019?

These breaches occurred in every state except Hawaii and North Dakota. Texas had the most breaches with 60 followed by California with 42.

Data privacy represents one of the keystones of the HIPAA and Privacy Protection Act. Continue reading to learn about making your health information management system more secure.

Why Is Data Privacy Important?

Hippocrates understood that patients must develop a fiduciary trust when they seek care. This trust extends to the entire healthcare system. Patient information is no longer only exchanged between the patient and their doctor.

Healthcare professionals, medical records personnel, and insurance companies share patient’s private details.

Higher quality data can lead to higher quality healthcare. State-of-the-art technology allows for the rapid synthesis of large amounts of data. This leads to more efficient and effective care.

It’s easy to become lost in the technology and forget that it represents people’s private details. We have a duty to preserve basic human rights. This includes the right to privacy.

HIPPA and the Patient Privacy Act work to ensure healthcare facilities protect patient health information (PHI).

Common Causes of Data Privacy Problems in Healthcare

Data privacy breaches in the healthcare system occur due to several different causes. Some involve direct human error or misconduct. Others result from failures or attacks on digital networks.

The following are common examples of data privacy problems.

1. Human Error

Most human errors result from 3 general mistakes. The first involves the accidental sending of PHI to the wrong person.

Discarding PHI without shredding creates a risk of unauthorized access to the information. Last, information may become lost. This could happen by misplacing a data storage drive or losing hard copy medical records.

Decentralized data indexing leads to increased subjectiveness in decisionmaking among different operators. This increases the risk of human error.

Solarity Solutions uses a patented technology that automates indexing.  This process standardizes the indexing process by document type. It also abstracts patient information.

By using this centralized system and automation, your facility can decrease errors. This system quickly identifies misfiled or missing documents as well.

2. Incomplete Medical Records

Incomplete medical records compromise the facility’s HIPAA compliance. Hard copy charts increase the risk of lost, misfiled, or incomplete data as well.

Organizations that use Solarity Scanned documents benefit from electronic health record (EHR) security. This provides real-time visibility of the scanning and indexing process. Records are accessible in the EHR in as little as one hour.

The end result is an increase in productivity and accuracy of data management.

3. Physical Theft

Most document security issues result from physical theft of documents. Other less common examples of physical security failures include snooping, tampering and surveillance.

Thieves often steal laptops from cars. Thus, all PHI must only be stored on encrypted laptops.

4. Privilege Misuse

Many security breaches that occur in healthcare facilities involve internal personnel. This happens when an employee abuses their access to internal resources.

One example might involve illegal system access by a health information technician. This occurs if he accesses the EHR to find out about a neighbor’s admission to the hospital.

Solarity’s centralized and automated indexing process optimizes information management. This means that fewer individuals “touch” the information. This decreases the risk of physical theft and misuse of privilege.

5. Possession Abuse

The term, possession abuse, is like privilege abuse except it addresses physical documents. This can include viewing documents without authorization. It also includes misfiling, loss, and insecure disposal of PHI documents.

By using Solarity’s hardware that scans at the Point of Care, these risks decrease. Once again, fewer people handle the documents.

6. Hacking

Hacking means that an unauthorized person knowingly and willfully gains access to a system or device. This is often accomplished by stealing access credentials. Hackers find this easier than trying to break into a system manually.

Do you know which web application attack is more likely to extract privacy data elements from databases? The answer in via Structured Query Language (SQL) injection.

Many times, online forms aren’t coded with sufficient security. This allows hackers to exploit their weaknesses.

Skilled hackers can gain access to the root level of web servers. From there, they can attacker other networked servers.

The most universal language for databases is SQL. Programs use this language to retrieve, manipulate, and store data. When collecting customer data via web-based forms, the system interacts with the database.

Simple logon forms or search boxes can give access to your data by someone using SQL injection. This occurs when incorrect coding allows attackers to bypass firewalls and endpoint defenses.

7. Malware

Data breaches often occur due to malicious software or ransomware. The most highly attacked healthcare assets include databases, servers, and desktops. Unlike any other industry, most healthcare facility data breaches originate from “internal actors”.

This creates a unique challenge to healthcare cybersecurity. Confirmed breaches involved an identified risk or known disclosure of PHI.

One of the latest successful ransomware attacks involving healthcare facilities is called WannaCry. Thieves use the fact that healthcare systems collect information concerning life and death. This makes them a perfect target for ransom demands.

They sell the PHI on the black market. Thieves steal information from various devices medical professionals use to track patients. Cybersecurity is often not the number one priority in healthcare facilities. which increases vulnerability.

Solarity’s SOC 2 Certification

Solarity Solutions is System and Organization Controls (SOC) 2 certified. This certification protocol is reserved for advanced IT service providers. Providers must meet rigorous standards to achieve certification.

These standards measure the system provider’s:

  • Security protocols
  • Processing integrity
  • Availability of the system
  • PHI privacy related to data collected, retained, managed, disclosed, and disposed
  • Data confidentiality standards during processing and maintaining of the user’s PHI

Holding this certification ensures that the health entity’s PHI remains secure.

Are You Looking for a More Secure Data Management System?

Healthcare facilities must use a system that decreases their risk for data breaches. Solarity Solution has focused on digital capture and indexing of medical records since 1961. We ensure data privacy with our patented scanning and indexing software.

Contact us today to ask questions and set up a free demonstration.