Improve Patient Information Security at Your Hospital

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information securitySimple Tips on Keeping Patient Information Safe from Theft

Having security over personal information at a hospital is critical to mitigating risk and legal action. The Identity Theft Resource Center conducted a survey and drew the conclusion that, “medical-related identity theft accounted for 43 percent of all identity thefts reported in the United States in 2013.” This is a staggering statistic and a topic to be proactive against in your hospital. Today we want to give you some tips to ensure patient information is secure and avoid medical identity theft from becoming a growing issue.

Most hospitals have adopted the use of healthcare issued ID cards and badges to access restricted areas and to lock and unlock doors. If you haven’t yet, integrate these badges to access patient information on computers, not only is it efficient, but it’s more secure than typing in user IDs and passwords.

 Tip: To further increase information security, integrate a pin number associated with each ID badge to access patient files and medical information, including ordering and changing medications.

Many hospitals use keycard access on their computers, where the ID badge is inserted into the keyboard and when the ID is removed, the computer locks. This is a very secure system, but at the very least, your hospital should be using an ID scanning method to access patient records, where the provider’s badge is scanned by a barcode reader to access personal information. The scanning method is still useful, but less secure because the provider must remember to log out or lock the computer.

 Tip: If you use a scanning method to access information, set a timeout on each computer to automatically log the person out after a designated time of inactivity.

It seems easy enough, but while providing life-saving care, information security becomes less of a priority: keeping written patient files confidential. Many times those working in healthcare are inputting information into an electronic patient file when they get an alert to help someone. They then lock the computer and leave, but also leave the written patient file vulnerable. Keeping these paper records confidential is critical to eliminating a breach of personal security for your patients.

 Tip: Try to keep all information electronic, eliminating the paper trail that someone could easily take off a desk or from a patient’s room. If a paper trail is standard practice for your hospital, have a locked file cabinet which healthcare workers can quickly put files into until they return. 

Your patients expect exceptional healthcare when they receive care at your hospital, it goes unsaid they also expect security for their personal and medical information. We are reminded daily that security breaches happen and hospitals and healthcare facilities are a main target. Keep your patient’s personal information secure with these simple tips.

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