Saturday, 22 Jun 2024

EHR Security: 3 Features to Protect Your Patients’ Data

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The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) mandates protocols to ensure the privacy and security of patients’ electronic health records. As a healthcare practice, it is crucial to choose electronic healthcare record (EHR) software that meets these HIPAA requirements to safeguard patient data. In this article, we will explore three essential features that your EHR should have to ensure top-notch security for your patients’ information.

Password Protection

One of the most effective ways to enhance EHR security is through robust password protection. Your EHR system should require patients to enter their passwords when logging in initially, after a period of inactivity, and when their session times out. Encourage your patients to create strong passwords, with a minimum of 15 characters that include a combination of lowercase and uppercase letters, as well as special characters[^2^].

Consider implementing a password change requirement every 60 or 90 days, and for added protection, you can use an access code sent to an email address or mobile device. Incorporating a security question also adds an extra layer of defense, ensuring your patients’ data remains secure.

Data Encryption

Encrypting patients’ data provides an additional level of protection. Encrypted data can only be decoded with the corresponding password, ensuring that even if the information falls into the wrong hands, it remains inaccessible.

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While HIPAA does not explicitly require data encryption, it is an effective way to instill confidence and peace of mind in your patients[^3^]. Moreover, encryption also functions within your office environment. With role-based access control, you can restrict staff members’ access to information, allowing them to see only the data required to perform their duties effectively.

EHR Audit Trail

Maintaining an audit trail is vital for EHR security. By tracking patient activity within the system, an audit trail records who logged into a patient’s account, when they did so, and any changes made. It also provides an opportunity for the patient to report any suspicious login activity.

Your EHR system should notify both you and the patient of any suspicious activity through other access points. In the rare event of a security breach, an audit trail can help identify the issue promptly, enabling swift resolution.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Are these features required by HIPAA?
A: While HIPAA does not explicitly mandate these features, they are highly recommended to ensure the security and privacy of patients’ data.

Q: Can EHR systems be accessed remotely?
A: Yes, with a cloud-based system like Checkpoint by Integrity Support, healthcare providers can access their patients’ information anytime, from any device, facilitating seamless communication and care.

Q: How can I encourage my patients to create strong passwords?
A: Educate your patients about the importance of strong passwords and provide guidelines for creating secure passwords. Emphasize the significance of protecting their personal health information.

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Choosing the right EHR software is critical to safeguarding your patients’ sensitive data. By prioritizing password protection, data encryption, and implementing an EHR audit trail, you can enhance the security of your patients’ electronic health records. Eireview – Extractive Industries Review is committed to providing EHR solutions that meet the highest security standards. Learn more about Eireview’s commitment to EHR security on their website.