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The Security Risk of Meaningful Use

  • By: Garry Feldman
  • Date: March 2, 2016

The expertise of healthcare providers focuses and centers on keeping people well. One aspect of meeting patients’ needs is being able to accept the health insurance that they have; this includes Medicare and Medicaid. With the inception of the Affordable Care Act and other recent healthcare legislation, healthcare providers have also had to carry another load: Electronic Health Records.

EHR Incentives

While it is in the best interest of patients for providers to adopt electronic healthcare records (EHR), it also is incentivized by a reimbursement program. In order to receive the incentives, providers must prove that they are meaningfully using their EHRs by meeting certain objectives set by the government. Some of these objectives are:

  • Using EHRs to create Problem Lists for Patients
  • Using EHR information with other providers on an information exchange
  • Using a clinical decision support system
  • Using EHR and other Data to improve High Blood Pressure
  • Using Computer Order Entry

EHRs Are a Security Risk

EHRs contain sensitive data by definition. Not only will they contain the medical history of patients, but they will also contain personal information to identify that patient. Name, address, social security number and possibly even payment information are all things that hackers like to get their hands on for nefarious purposes. That is why security is so important for the healthcare providers dealing with these records.

The Dangers of an Unprotected Network

The problem is, healthcare providers are focused on providing healthcare needs. They may not have the know-how or the staff to provide the proper level of security that is needed to protect this sensitive information. As soon as one of your computers connects to a network outside of the office, that computer is at risk from attack. That is why top level security measures must be put in place.

Legal Dangers as Well

Not only are providers at risk of losing patients over a data breach, but they can come under government attack as well. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, HIPAA for short, is a law that very clearly defines who is allowed to access a patient’s health records. Providing sensitive information to an unauthorized party or allowing that information to fall into the hands of an unauthorized party will put the provider in violation of the law. This could put them at risk of legal action and even fines or other penalties assessed by the government.

U.S. Computer Connection is the Computer Consultant Stamford Healthcare Should Trust

Let U.S. Computer Connection help your office by being the computer experts that you need. We offer security consulting services like:

  • Data Protection
  • Firewall and Network Security
  • Encryption and Secure Data Transfer
  • Desktop Security

All of these things will help keep your office computers safe from hacker attacks. They will also ensure that your patients’ data is only seen by who is authorized to see it. Finally, it will allow full participation in the Meaningful Use program safely!

Don’t miss our upcoming events so you can learn more about how to keep your networks and computers secure.

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