The healthcare industry is changing. One of the biggest changes happening in recent years is the switch to electronic health records or EHRs. There are plenty of benefits offered by the use of EHRs, from more accurate diagnosis and better treatments to lower healthcare costs and increased reliability.
From the beginning, security standards and measures have been put in place to ensure all sensitive information and personal details are properly protected. That said, it is still necessary to know how to protect your set of electronic health records for maximum security. These next few tips will help you protect your EHRs with ease.
Know Your Rights
The first thing you need to do in order to safeguard your EHRs is learn your rights as a patient. There are health information policies in place, designed to help protect your personal information and health records. The US Department of Health and Human Services and its Office for Civil Rights have laid some strict rules regarding privacy, including ways to file for a privacy complaint if you think one is necessary.
Take your time and get familiar with these policies before you start using EHRs. If you are already storing medical records digitally and enjoying the benefits of this new system, it is a good idea to review the policies carefully and understand your rights.
There are even courses and free seminars designed to help patients learn how to protect their electronic health records. There are also online resource centers such as the government Health IT portal that can help you navigate through the rights you have as a patient, down to the very last detail.
Know the Systems
Different hospitals may implement different brands of EHRs solutions. There are plenty of systems on the market today, but they are all designed to follow the same security guidelines set by the governing authority. We have HIPAA in place, designed specifically to allow transparency of information, as well as the protection of patient records with the highest security standard.
As long as the health service provider is using a HIPAA-compliant system, you have nothing to worry about. What’s important is to ensure that all solutions you use on your site – such as an independent cloud service you choose for storing your EHRs or the medical apps you have on your smartphone – are also HIPAA-compliant.
Know Your Role
HIPAA will only protect your information and medical details when they are being handled by HIPAA-covered entities, such as the healthcare service provider or your doctor and the health insurance company. According to studies by Ohio University and its online MHA program, the majority of information leaks are actually caused by patient error. You need to know how to protect your EHRs for maximum security.
The online master of healthcare administration in strategy and innovation department has released a warning about sharing medical information to entities that are not covered by HIPAA. When you share your medical details through social media, for instance, the risk of information theft multiplies in an instant.
The same can be said for storing EHRs in the cloud. Always make sure you choose a reputable service provider and that you read the cloud service’s security and privacy policies before uploading EHRs to the servers. Use these tips we have covered in this article and you won’t have to worry about the safety of your electronic health records at all.