Securing an EHR System: From a Managed IT Service Provider (MSP) Experience – CTI Technology

When a healthcare organization is budgeting for a new Electronic Health Record (EHR) System, it is crucial to consider which EHR system will work best for the organization and which method to protect the system’s data. As the world continues to transition into a remote lifestyle, the increased use of tablets, laptops, and securing company data becomes even more essential than ever before to maintain an organization’s long-term success.

When an EHR system is not correctly secured, malicious activity is fully capable of occurring at any time. Hackers will steal information from all types of businesses for many different motives just because they can. If a healthcare organization chooses to leave their EHR system unprotected, not only are they breaking HIPAA regulations, but they are just handing the hacker the keys to steal patient data, financials, and everything that keeps the business running. For example, when leaving a car door unlocked, a thief can open the door and take anything they want. We all want to believe people won’t steal in society; unfortunately, there are still thieves out there that will take anything they can with no remorse.

Healthcare management must implement policies and procedures to secure data in every way possible. EHR Systems will occasionally offer security software that is intended to protect data but should be reviewed by a professional to make sure it is legit and make sure to discuss any additional security measures that may need to be implemented. The EHR system isn’t the only program that needs protection in the office. Anti-virus software is not enough protection with the increased sophistication level of cyber-attacks in 2021. There should be multiple security measures to protect employee email, access control, the active directory, end-user information, etc. However, it is essential to understand that only one software will not stop a hacker from entering the database; it’s just not enough, which is why we highly encourage multiple security measures, including Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) to be implemented.

Cyber-attacks can happen anywhere at any time, not necessarily inside the computer. A hacker can be a corrupt employee inside the organization or even a patient looking for the right time to grab a password that is left out by an employee. Privacy screens are encouraged and required in a Security Risk Assessment to protect patient information from being disclosed unintentionally. There are many scenarios in which a breach can occur at any time. Having a backup and recovery process implemented is also necessary to discuss with an IT professional. Management must protect the company data before a catastrophe happens. Once a hacker gains access and steals the data, it is near impossible to backtrack if the damage has already occurred.  Many healthcare professionals utilize eClinicalWorks as their trusted EHR system. It has proven to be a secure and reliable cloud-based solution intended to improve costs and the quality of patient care.

Many business owners feel they will never be affected by malicious activity and don’t recognize the value in protecting their data. Unfortunately, hack attempts occur every day to innocent companies unaware of the potential risks they may face daily, including ransomware, which risks a lockdown to the entire business operation with one wrong click by an employee. Security Risk Assessments are required by Health & Human Services (HHS) and are also beneficial to the organization to assist in implementing security measures. If a Managed IT Service Provider specializes in healthcare, they will likely be willing to help with this process.

When protecting an EHR system, it is critical to make sure the proper infrastructure is accessible and understand HIPAA Compliance guidelines. It’s essential to choose a trusted and experienced Managed IT Service Provider such as CTI Technology to implement a security strategy that fits the needs of the medical practice. Frequent communication amongst the Managed IT Service Provider and the healthcare provider will ensure both parties are doing their due diligence to secure every avenue of the database.

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