Today’s medical world has become more and more digitized. As records move online, medical communications are becoming faster and better than ever. Doctors can now share test results, record changes and even financial statements with patients and other doctors.
An individual’s medical history is perhaps the most private information that someone can hold. As a medical professional, your patients trust you with this information. It should be your duty to protect this information.
With this reliability on network communications comes an increased risk of cyber breaches. A 2015 Baker Hostetler Data Security Incident Response Report found that the healthcare industry accounted for 23 percent of data breaches.
A data breach in the healthcare world can hurt both patients and providers. A data breach could give cyber-thieves access to information like:
- Health data including medications, diagnoses and pharmaceutical information
- Social security numbers, addresses, birth dates and other identifiable information
- Patient billing information and bank account information
- Health insurance information
- Provider financial information and invoices
- Provider stock and office access information
- Sensitive information like staff credentials and certifications
All this information is private information. Should someone steal information like social security numbers, the threat of identity theft is real.
If something compromises a patient's private information, your office could face a suit. A patient could claim that you were negligent in guarding that information. A lawsuit could damage your reputation and you could face losses from having to settle.
In these cases, cyber liability insurance is a great asset for your practice. Cyber liability insurance can help you cover losses related to data breaches. These policies usually cover data recovery, notification and credit monitoring costs for both the practice and patients.
Nonetheless, you should always take steps to secure and protect your data. By doing so, you increase the chances of your insurance company honoring your claim. To protect your data, take steps like:
- Back up your data in secure places. That way, if something compromises data you still have access to data that was likely not affected
- Require strong passwords and access verification like thumbprint verification
- Use encrypted networks and secure email systems when necessary
- Don’t store information like birth dates and social security numbers in unsecured areas
- Work with a data protection firm if you can afford it
- Invest in data management programs and security software. Many management programs are specially made for medical professionals
- Teach your employees data protection practices. They should log out of all programs and not open questionable messages, web pages or emails. They should secure all records when not using them
- Consider investing in malware and virus software. These programs can scan your computer systems at least daily
If you take proper steps, you can reduce the risks of cyber theft or a data breach. That way, you can keep your practice and your patients safe.
Joseph A. Britton Agency is here to help you find the insurance coverage you need for your medical practice. Visit our website to learn more about our coverage options. Call us today at (800) 462-3401 if you have questions.