What Data Protection Measures Do Healthcare Providers Adhere To?
Technology advancement has led to increased popularity of digital healthcare, forcing ecosystems that cater to patients to tighten their grip on data security and protection. Due to the sensitivity of health systems and records, data security has become very crucial to healthcare providers.
In case of security breaches, healthcare providers can endanger not only the health but also the lives of their patients. They can also destroy the trust bestowed upon them by their patients and other stakeholders.
This explains the reason why they have to implement different data protection measures to ensure that both the healthcare providers and their patients are safe. But, what are these data protection measures?
Fortunately, healthcare providers have to adhere to several data protection measures to ensure that their sensitive data, as well as that of their patients, is safe. These measures include;
HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) has provided a set of rules, such as the HIPAA Privacy Rule and HIPAA Security Rule, that healthcare providers have to adhere to for health information security, confidentiality, and data privacy.
This also includes the need for healthcare providers to adhere to administrative, physical, and technical safeguards to ensure that data is protected against cybercriminal attacks.
The technical safeguards require healthcare providers to ensure that they have audited all healthcare activity, implemented authentication protocols, controlled access, and encrypted data. The HIPAA Act is made stronger by the NIST framework and the HIPAA Safe Harbor Bill and has costly fines for those who do not adhere to its rules.
GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) was set by the European Union and affects the data of all European Union subjects. However, this does not mean that only the healthcare providers operating within the European Union have to adhere to GDPR.
The truth is that it has implications globally. It is very strict, and every healthcare provider understands the implications of failing to adhere to its set of rules. It requires healthcare providers to protect data by default and design.
It also places limits on the collection of data, meaning that one has a right of being forgotten. Apart from HIPAA, GDPR has some of the highest fines for healthcare providers if they do not adhere to its set of regulations.
3. EO 14028
Also known as the President’s Executive Order (EO) 14028, this regulation is aimed at improving cybersecurity in the United States. It was issued on 12th May 2021 and requires a couple of agencies, including NIST, to implement different initiatives aimed at enhancing cybersecurity.
NIST, for instance, is required to get input from government agencies, academia, the private sector, and other organizations to identify any loopholes in cybersecurity and build new guidelines, best practices, tools, and standards to enhance data security.
Even though EO 14028 aims at improving the nation’s cybersecurity space, it affects all other industries, including the healthcare industry. Healthcare providers should make sure that they understand and adhere to all regulations set for them to stay protected from cyber attacks.
4. State Laws
Depending on the state that a healthcare provider operates from, there are different data protection measures that they have to adhere to. It is, therefore, important for all healthcare providers to ensure that they understand all requirements based on their states.
For instance, healthcare providers operating from California have the California Privacy Rights Act of 2003 to adhere to. They also have the California Consumer Privacy Act of 2020, among many other strict data protection regulations.
All these regulations are designed to ensure that the state residents, as well as their personal data, are protected from breach. Other states, including Colorado and Virginia, have followed suit and introduced similar regulations for healthcare providers.
5. Data Encryption
Data encryption is an essential part of data protection for healthcare providers. They are supposed to encrypt data, whether at rest or in transit, to make it difficult for cybercriminals to access the data or decipher information belonging to patients.
If cybercriminals gain access to patient information, healthcare providers are supposed to ensure that the data cannot be used in any way. Even though HIPAA provides encryption recommendations, it leaves everything else for healthcare providers to make decisions on their own.
Data protection is very crucial, not only to healthcare providers but also to all other organizations. If you are running a healthcare provider, ensure that you have adhered to the data protection measures discussed above to avoid heavy fines.
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