Health system integration has emerged as the need of the hour. It has appeared as a solution for communicating and managing tons of health data from different systems and making it accessible to patients and healthcare providers. While the real-time accessibility of patients' personal data, demographic details, medical history, and other health data can improve patient care and even predict health complications that may arise in the future, it also creates ever-evolving security risks.
The question is, how secure is the data exchange?
According to a HIPAA Journal report, Between January 1, 2021, and December 31, 2021, 712 healthcare data breaches were reported. Thus protecting Health data is essential to ensure that Healthcare organizations can provide safe, high-quality care to their patients
For ensuring better healthcare results and patient care, the Health system integration allows easy accessibility of data but as the data becomes easily accessible the risk of a data breach increases. Healthcare organizations must follow strict guidelines to ensure data security in health system integration.
Here are some best practices that healthcare organizations can follow to protect their patients' data:
Choose the Right Interoperability Strategist
Choosing the right interoperability strategist is essential for ensuring a secure Health system integration. Before choosing an interoperability strategist, check on the security compliance such as HIPAA and other security regulations followed by the strategist. Multi-factor authentication is an effective way to protect patient data. Healthcare organizations should mandate users to authenticate using at least two factors and implement access controls that limit access to patient data based on function, location, and other criteria.
Conduct Regular Security Audits
Healthcare organizations should conduct regular security audits to identify potential vulnerabilities in their systems. This can help them identify and address security issues before they can be exploited by cybercriminals. Moreover, traditional antivirus is obsolete and there is a need to upgrade to new-aged antivirus backed by artificial intelligence and other robust technologies should be used.
The thumb rule to healthcare data sharing is that patient information should only be accessible on a need-to-know basis. Proper training should be provided to the people enfacing systems about the security measures and laws for ensuring internal as well as external security of data. The concept of interoperability has been around for a while but the 21st Century Cure Act Final Rule on Interoperability and Information-Blocking, Interoperability and Patient Access final rule by CMS and other laws have created a buzz in the health IT ecosystem and have made healthcare data security mandatory.
Data Security is essential in health system integration, as healthcare organizations handle sensitive patient information that must be protected from unauthorized access, use, and disclosure. Robust data security can prevent additional costs associated with data breaches. Healthcare organizations should follow best practices such as choosing the right interoperability strategist, ensuring governance, and conducting regular security audits to ensure the security of their patient’s data. By taking these steps, healthcare organizations can provide safe, high-quality care to their patients and protect their sensitive data from cybercriminals.