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When Is Patient Data Most at Risk?

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When you provide information to your doctor or doctor’s office, you assume that your data and personal information are going to be kept secret. While technology has advanced these days, there are still situations where patient data is compromised. This can occur through technology, but data breaches can also occur when somebody steals paper data. Let’s look at the times when patient data is most at risk.

When Computers Are Thrown Out

There may come a time when a company decides to overhaul its computer system. When this occurs, companies need to dispose of the equipment properly. It isn’t just about throwing the computers away securely. According to Eco Green IT Recycling, the information should also be wiped clean from the hard drives. Any data that has to be saved, should be done properly, using professional software or a third party company that specializes in data management. You don’t want these machines getting into the wrong hands.

When It’s on Paper

When mail is delivered, it’s incredibly vulnerable. According to Postal Methods, when mail is delivered it’s incredibly vulnerable. When mail arrives that has medical information it leaves customers vulnerable to having their identity or information stolen. A patient might ask for a certain lab result to be sent to their home. If the staff at the medical office isn’t careful when they prepare to mail out medical paperwork it could result in the wrong information being printed and sent out to someone else. While the person receiving the wrong information might not be looking to cause harm, this is a definite breach in data for stolen identity. There should be a very specific process used for mailing information. Automated mailings aren’t a wise choice for this type of situation and environment.

Hackers

It is unfortunate but true that there are people that want to steal a person’s information for their own benefit. This could be for identity theft purposes, to obtain a medication, etc. There are people who have the knowledge and ability to hack into a computer system and access personal information. You need to take appropriate steps to have secure information and databases for patient information. As a medical office, make sure your computers are password-protected, make sure that there is anti-theft software installed on every machine and make sure that employees know the rules of protecting their computers on-site.

It’s important to take all steps necessary to protect patient data. There are companies that specialize in this type of service. There are software products that can help as well. See what your company can budget and do everything possible to keep the patient’s data safe. If a breach does occur, this could be a big hit to a provider’s reputation. People don’t like to hear that their information has been stolen.

Here’s another article you might enjoy: 3 Aspects of a Healthcare Business that Need to Be Automated

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