Northwind Pharmaceuticals

EHR Security and Privacy

EHR-Security-and-PrivacyWhen it comes to Electronic Health Records (EHRs), we hear a lot about the continuity and efficiency they bring to your clinic. But as helpful as they are, EHRs contain personal information about your patients and therefore are guided by certain privacy rules.

What does that mean for my clinic?

Every health care provider who transmits information electronically is subject to the privacy regulations, regardless of their size. And according to the Department of Human Health and Services, “health care provider” is a broad term encompassing everything from hospitals to billing companies.

The HIPAA Privacy Rule contains certain guidelines pertaining to individuals’ EHRs, particularly to any identifiable information. According to hhs.gov:

“Individually identifiable health information” is information, including demographic data, that relates to:

the individual’s past, present or future physical or mental health or condition,
the provision of health care to the individual, or
the past, present, or future payment for the provision of health care to the individual and that identifies the individual or for which there is a reasonable basis to believe it can be used to identify the individual.13 Individually identifiable health information includes many common identifiers (e.g., name, address, birth date, Social Security Number).”
To read more about the Privacy Rule, click here.

So how can I keep my patient’s EHRs secure?

In addition to the HIPAA Privacy Rule, HHS enacted a HIPPA Security Rule to aid healthcare providers in maintaining their patients’ privacy. According to healthit.gov, “the Security Rule requires appropriate administrative, physical and technical safeguards to ensure the confidentiality, integrity, and security of [an EHR].

“These safeguards, when applied well, can help you avoid some of the common security gaps that lead to cyber attack or data loss.

The HIPAA Security Rule requires covered providers to implement security measures, which help protect patients’ privacy by creating the conditions for patient health information to be available but not be improperly used or disclosed.”

To read more about the Security Rule, click here.

EHRs are a valuable way to bring efficiency to your healthcare organization. To learn more ways you can enhance your clinic in 2015, contact Northwind Pharmaceuticals today.

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