In the healthcare industry, protecting patient data is of the utmost importance. Breaches in hospitals and other medical organizations can be devastating, not only in the effects they can have on victims, but also the toll they can take on the parties that allowed the information to be compromised. The ramifications can be very serious, including reputation loss, fines and more.
Maintaining compliance with HIPAA, the healthcare sector's regulatory standard, can help hospitals stave off costly data breaches and keep their patient relationships going strong. But to stay in good standing, professionals need to remain abreast of developments that stand to change what being compliant actually means. By leveraging remote database support, medical organizations may be able to do a better job of ensuring their data is protected in keeping with the changing regulatory landscape.
According to Computerworld, entities that handle healthcare information have until September 23 to be compliant with the various security requirements of the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act, which amended portions of HIPAA to strengthen its stance on patient privacy. Some of those changes mandate organizations to fully inform individuals of how their information can be used or shared and the establishment of a more complex liability chain to secure protected health information (PHI).
What may be most important to note is that HITECH doesn't just apply to hospitals and other medical practices. Business associates will also need to comply with these new rules, as they come into play in the aforementioned revamped liability chain. Once HITECH goes into effect, any entity governed by the standard could face legal ramifications for data breaches by subcontractors. This gives a wide range of companies incentive to ensure compliance at all times.
Health IT Security noted that in a study by Experian Data Breach Resolution and the Ponemon Institute, compromises are a major problem in the medical field. Of the 571 respondents, all had suffered at least one breach within the year prior to the survey, and 52 percent had experienced multiple within that time period.
Businesses effected by HITECH don't have to take on the task of reaching compliance on their own. With the help of remote dba experts, the process can be simple and effective.