With the risk of a cyber security breach increasing on a daily basis, below are some tips that will help a dental practice owner maintain the security that they need in order to protect patient information.
Plan for the Unexpected
- Create data backups regularly and reliably.
- Begin backing up data from day one of a new year.
- Ensure that the data s being captured correctly.
- Ensure that the data can be quickly and accurately restored.
- Use an automated backup system, if possible.
- Consider storing the backup far away from the main system.
- Protect backup media with the same type of access controls.
- Test backup media regularly for their ability to restore data properly, especially as the backups age.
- Have a sound recovery plan.
- What data was backed up (e.g., databases, pdfs, tiffs, docs)
- When the backups were done (timeframe and frequency)
- Where the backups are stored
- What types of equipment are needed to restore them
- Keep the recovery plan securely at a remote location where someone has a responsibility for producing it in the event of an emergency.
Control Access to Protected Health Information
- Configure your Electronic Health Record (EHR) System to grant Protected Health Information (PHI) access to only people with a "need to know."
- This access control system might be part of an operating system (e.g., Windows), or built into a particular application (e.g., an e-prescribing module), or both.
- Manually set file access permissions using an access control list.
- This can only be done by someone with authorized rights to the system.
- Prior to setting these permissions, identify which files should be accessible to which staff members.
- Configure role-based access control as needed.
- In role-based access, a staff member's role within the practice determines what information may be accessed.
- Assign staff to the correct roles and then set the access permissions for each role correctly, on a need-to-know basis.
Hopefully, this information will provide some simple security tips in order to prevent a HIPAA violation and/or security breach which can devastate a practice.
Stuart J. Oberman, Esq. handles a wide range of legal issues for the dental profession, including: employment law, cyber security breaches, practice sales, real estate transactions, lease agreements, OSHA compliance, dental board complaints, and professional corporations.
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