Recently in Privacy Category
Check out this post by our guest blogger:
Are you at risk to be on the "Wall of Shame" for breaches in patient privacy?
privacy is being tested more and more these days due to many forms of
communication between practitioners being sent on paper (Ex. Triplicate
form or fax referrals) and daily activities done with personal laptops
that are easily lost, stolen, or become inoperable.
Did you know?
Over 435 organizations have had breaches affecting more than 500 patients
The "Wall of Shame" has been posted by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
and is updated regularly. You do not want to have you or your
organization's reputation at risk by using antiquated methods to store
and communicate data.
Take a quick look at the list, notice anything? There are some very recognizable names on the list. Do not become one of them.
Do you love statistics? Take a look at a great healthcare infographic about how broken our communication system really is.
How to protect yourself
1. Update your browsers to IE9, Chrome, or Firefox
If you are still using Internet Explorer 6, which was released in August 2001, get your IT department, your staff, or the kid down the street to help you. It's not hard, and will save you the embarrassment and huge liability of potentially being infected by viruses that could destroy or steal data. Technology isn't scary is actually rather useful, and websites will look and run so much better with the newer versions of browsers that are out today.
Side-note: if you are still on Internet Explorer 6, its time to have a nice conversation with your IT staff, and also the vendors that are too lazy to upgrade their software to the modern age. By the way, even if the software you use to run your practices only works on certain browsers (ex. IE6), you can still install the newer versions of Chrome, or Firefox for searching the net. Trust us its well worth the upgrade.
Article that we wrote about - Dangers of Internet Explorer and your healthcare organization's security.
2. Update your referral workflow to a paperless solution such as ReferralMD's electronic referral service that helps 2 providers communicate referrals online vs. triplicate forms and faxes.
What are the benefits?
- Process referrals in minutes instead of days/hours
- Reduce no show patients which can increase revenues
- Reduce staffing time managing referrals. Save customers up to 96 percent of overhead costs when dealing with referral management. An average practice that exchanges 200 referrals a month can save up to 1,600 hours a year or $66,000.
- Identify referral trends within the organization and quickly address problematic clinics with accurate real time reporting of payer mix, referral quantity reports, and in and out of network identifiers to manage leakage.
- Reduce risk associated with managing paper triplicate forms and faxes which can lead to lawsuits and lower standards of care for patients.
3. Backup your data
Believe it or not, many doctors do not back up their files, and just hope that nothing happens. Best bet to save your data and your sanity is to use a service such as Carbonite which backs up your data daily so you do not have to worry.
If you are one of those offices that still use tape backups or "Gasp" DVD's to protect your data, it's time to upgrade fast. We know you have good intentions, but do you really backup your data daily?
4. Stop using e-mail to send information
We have heard so many stories about patient information being sent to personal staff accounts such as Gmail, Yahoo, etc, its shocking and against the law.
Here is a short personal story about emailing patient referrals that I have seen time and time again.
Share your best security practicesShare this article with your staff and your colleagues, I bet it gets them talking. Then please come back after and leave a comment.
A recent report by research2guidance estimates that mHealth services will reach some 500 million users by 2010.
But there is a difference between "reaching" all smartphone users and actually having them "use" the tens-of-thousands of applications currently available.
Currently, only about nine percent of adult mobile device users actually use a health care application. This number is expected to increase substantially as the mobile generation looks to do more things while on the go.
That same report highlights the largest barrier to adoption is privacy - how do people know that their personal health information is not out there for everyone to see and use.
More than 50 percent of those surveyed said they were very or somewhat uncomfortable with sharing this information through a mobile application.
As you can imagine, most people will download free applications that are fun to have or provide general information on health care.
For example, applications like iTriage offer information on symptoms, diseases and medical procedures as well as a nationwide directory of hospitals, urgent care facilities, retail clinics, pharmacies and physicians. Good information to have, but nothing that requires extreme security or privacy.
On the other hand, having sensitive information on illnesses, prescriptions, surgeries, lab test results and other personal data flying through the air among doctors, hospitals, insurers, etc. is a concern to everyone.
Most folks throughout the health care ecosystem believe mHealth will enhance the quality of service and lower costs for patients, understanding, but how companies go about securing the information is paramount for acceptance by patients.
People are just now getting comfortable with online privacy, and moving that same perception to the mobile device might take some time. As long as there is a guarantee of security, and the benefits are simply spelled out, adoption will happen.
While Euro RSCG Worldwide predicts nearly 45 percent of smartphone users said they will use a health care application in the future, it would be interesting to know what percentage of those involved sharing personal information.
Companies and government agencies throughout the mHealth ecosystem need to reassure people that their personal health information is safer than keeping money in the bank.
mHealth can provide a cure for what's ailing health care, and with the proper education, patients will begin feeling good about using mobile applications.
In the coming weeks, I'll address some of the specific initiatives and systems companies and agencies are using to protect and secure the private health care information of patients.
Follow me on Twitter: @TechnicalJones
Talking Technology with Leroy Jones, Jr.:
mHealth DC 2010