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Help Desk, Customer Service, Cloud & Security Insights, with a Side of Altruism!

Healthcare and The Cloud

Cloud Healthcare Applications Security

The healthcare industry is moving towards using the cloud. More and more healthcare CIOs are choosing cloud systems for their businesses. Storing data in the cloud makes it easier to access and easier to share. Still, there have been some concerns about how secure the cloud is and if using the cloud is HIPAA-compliant. The transition to using the cloud is underway, so let us take a closer look at healthcare and the cloud.

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Is Your Company a HIPAA Business Associate?

HIPAA Covered Entities & Business Associates

HIPAA laws concerning the privacy and security of health information are quite strict. Currently, business associates of HIPAA covered entities must also be HIPAA-compliant. Most businesses are aware whether or not their company is a HIPAA covered entity or not, but what about a HIPAA business associate? If you signed a HIPAA business associate agreement (BAA), defined here, then you are definitely a business associate. The following are some of the instances where there might be some questions:

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Healthcare & HIPAA Data Breaches

Healthcare & HIPAA Data Breaches

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) was passed in 1996. Coming up on twenty years later, HIPAA is not a new concept, but there are some ongoing issues. In 2009, HIPAA was joined by the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH). This additional legislature brought changes to how HIPAA is enforced and the penalties that HIPAA non-compliance incurs. The Department of Health and Human Services has an Office of Civil Rights (OCR) that is responsible for enforcing HIPAA. Non-compliance with HIPAA is most evident after a data breach. Healthcare systems that suffer a data breach are investigated by OCR and fined large amounts of money for HIPAA violations. Let us examine healthcare and HIPAA data breaches and what they mean for the businesses that experience them.

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HIPAA Protects More Than Healthcare

HIPAA Security & Data Protection

Worried about protecting the information with which customers trust your company? Afraid that a data breach is inevitable if your company transitions to a cloud-based system? With the stringent requirements in healthcare IT, some cloud providers are HIPAA compliant. But, this can not only be good for healthcare IT systems, but any company can benefit from these extra levels of security compliance.

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The Giva Challenge: Giva Customers Are Talking! MetroHealth System

MetroHealth System

MetroHealth System, a hospital system providing quality care for over 175 years, has a history of constant growth and expansion. With humble beginnings in 1837 as the Cleveland, Ohio city infirmary, serving a population of 6,000 people, it experienced exponential growth with the arrival of the industrial revolution. Today, MetroHealth is one of the largest and most comprehensive public health systems in the country.

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Top 5 Issues Facing Hospital CIOs Today

Technology Challenges for Healthcare/Hospital CIOs

Technology, such as cloud computing, is becoming increasingly attractive in the healthcare management industry. Hospital CIOs, however, now face the difficult task of optimizing new technology while still maintaining the healthcare industry's ethical standards. Here are the top five challenges faced by Hospital CIOs in implementing new technology:

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HIPAA Compliance Importance, Cloud Storage & Assessment Tool

HIPAA Compliance & Data Protection

With increasing data breaches happening every year at major companies like Kohl's, Abercrombie and Fitch, Cigna and Anthem, it is more important than ever to know if your company is HIPAA compliant or not. Federal law requires companies dealing with private health information, or any business that hosts this information on their servers, to be HIPAA compliant.

Even if your company does not need to comply with HIPAA regulations, it is a good idea to protect other sensitive information like credit card numbers and customer employment information as strictly as private health information. Anthem's data breach in March exposed the records of more than 80 million people, many of whom were not even Anthem customers.

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HIPAA Safeguards

HIPAA Data Security & Data Breaches

In being just a little over halfway through 2015, still, this year's Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC) Data Breach Report reveals that 424 data breaches have already occurred as of July 14. This partial year's breaches have exposed more sensitive customer information than last year's breaches. Now is certainly a prime time for companies to review their security measures they take to prevent being the victim data breaches.

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Healthcare Data Breaches on the Rise

Healthcare Data Protection

Since the start of the year, over 92 million medical records have been affected by breaches of the healthcare industry. According to recent news in Forbes, these breaches can affect customers both financially and in a more personal way with the private medical history involved making them more vulnerable. The fraudster could actually receive medical treatment under the victim's identity in the end putting the victim at risk of later receiving wrong medical service based on someone else's health information. The possibilities of complications stemming from these breaches are endless.

According to the article, it used to be that the top cause for patient data loss was an employee losing a device or having it stolen, but more recently the medical information is being obtained through cyber attacks on major medical organizations including Anthem, Premera and Carefirst. Because financial services and retailers have become savvier about protecting customer data the cyber criminals are now targeting the healthcare industry. "In a recent FBI presentation, Kam [Rick Kam, president and cofounder of ID Experts] says that the agency said that it had seen health insurance information fetching a price of $60-$70 on the black market as opposed to less than a dollar for a Social Security Number." This should propel all of the healthcare industry to do all they can to make the protection of their customers' private information a top priority.

Giva's cloud software rises above the rest by being HIPAA compliant. For more in depth information on this very important benefit , please see 7 Key Elements of Giva's HIPAA-Compliant Cloud Help Desk Software for Electronic Health & Medical Records.

Job Loss From Data Breach

Data Breach

With new technology comes new dangers. Data breaches are a crippling threat to businesses nationwide for multiple reasons: business security has failed its customers and their information is unsafe (whether it be financial or medical), companies lose money when it is time to repay or monitor its customers by hiring third parties, and employees actually suffer job loss from these devastating breaches.

The Identity Theft Resource Center's Data Breach Reports defines a breach as "an incident in which an individual name plus a Social Security number, driver's license number, medical record or financial record (credit/debit cards included) is potentially put at risk because of exposure. This exposure can occur either electronically or in paper format." As of December 16th, the ITRC recorded 744 breaches with over 81 million informational records compromised. Big businesses such as Home Depot, Target, Michael's, Neiman Marcus, and Bebe are victims of data breaches.

Firstly, data breaches can cause massive monetary damage. Elizabeth Weise from USA Today says, "Companies need [breach insurance] because they have to pay up when their customers get hit." The average monetary loss is $188.00 per customer hacked, which the company is required to pay back. Even a small business of 1,000 customers is then required to pay $188,000. Breach insurance can be expensive, but so can being the victim of a cyber attack.

Insurance and monetary compensation are possible solutions. However, most people do not realize the effects of security breaches on those in charge of business security. Data attacks can result in job loss. These job losses include Beth Jacob, CIO of Target; Maricopa County Community College District director, Miguel Corzo; head of Utah's Department of Health's technology department, Stephen Fletcher; and an Accretive Health employee responsible for the loss of an unencrypted laptop filled with sensitive healthcare information on over 23,000 patients.

When it comes to data breaches, there seems to be a greater margin of job penalty in the field of healthcare. Aside from the few mentioned above, Goold Health Systems fired an employee this year for downloading patient information onto a USB drive and then losing it. Highmark, Inc. fired a mail room employee for an error which disclosed over 3,500 patients' Medicare information without authorization. Two Georgia Hospital employees were fired for improperly disposing of an unencrypted desktop including information on over 6,500 patients. Boston Medical Center fired a third-party vendor after realizing they had posted data from 15,000 patients to the website without password protection.

Whether via carelessness, accident, or the work of a hacker, customer information must be taken seriously, especially when it pertains to healthcare. The lack of security can result in job loss. This is not a new issue: in 2006, four healthcare employees of Providence Health Care were fired for the theft of 365,000 healthcare patients' medical records. Thankfully, a security vendor was hired, and patients could sign up for information restoration and monitoring.

However, the healthcare business demographic accounts for almost half of ITRC's recorded data breaches, with hacking as the cause for more than a third of these breaches. Healthcare records provide a wealth of information, making them a huge target for cyber attacks. Because of this, federal law and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (also known as HIPAA) require security methods such as encryption of medical data to ensure a company remains protected from a data breach.

Businesses are going to have to continue to be vigilant in implementing their security strategies.

With Giva, security is of the utmost importance.  This is why Giva is has worked to become HIPAA-compliant, with its cloud software complying with strict regulations, helping keep their healthcare - and all - customers' information safe.

 

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