Why You Need to Ensure Healthcare Data Privacy and Security
From artificial intelligence to the Internet of Things (IoT) and Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) protocols, healthcare continues to embrace emerging technologies. But during this effort to achieve better ease of use and seamless interoperability, these technologies bring with them data privacy and security concerns that keep many healthcare stakeholders awake at night. Adoption of new technologies raises the risk of compromise or breach due to an increased number of connection points through which a cybercriminal can penetrate. In fact, according to the Ponemon Institute’s Sixth Annual Privacy and Security Report, a staggering 90% of healthcare organizations have experienced a breach or attack, with nearly half having more than five data breaches in the same time period.
As regulations set forth by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC), the National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST) and other agencies are constantly changing, new software that ensures healthcare data privacy and security needs to be evaluated and purchased. Employee training on data security and privacy rules is required on an annual basis at a minimum but it should be on an ongoing basis. It’s clear from these reasons, the stakes have never been higher to protect patient data. That’s why data privacy and security is paramount for PNT Data.
Respecting Privacy, Safeguarding Data
As a sign of our continued commitment to ensure we adhere to the latest industry standards in privacy, security and confidentiality when processing protected heath information (PHI), PNT has maintained full accreditation from the Electronic Healthcare Network Accreditation Commission (EHNAC) since 2009.
Accredited organizations like PNT must maintain accreditation by re-accrediting once every two years. This challenging process involves detailed preparation as federal regulations in addition to emerging technologies continue to evolve, with the later bringing about a host of new risks and vulnerabilities that must be identified. That’s why it’s important that our business model be flexible and adaptable, so we can continuously stay ahead of the latest developing trends, policies and procedures that need to be met head on from not only a regulatory perspective but from a business perspective as well.
Obtaining this third-party accreditation not only requires that PNT’s patient data processing technology is secure and HIPAA compliant but also that any changes to that technology, whether it be a modification to a system environment or to a process, policy or procedure, meets or exceeds all EHNAC criteria and industry standards. During the rigorous evaluation and risk assessment process, EHNAC reviewers are on site to ensure the appropriate administrative, physical and technical safeguards are in place and enforced for the protection of PHI and other sensitive patient information. Gaps in security and compliance are also identified and efficiencies are shored up.
But it’s not just internal processes and technologies that are evaluated. Connections among PNT systems and those of our partners where data is exchanged is also reviewed to ensure that when we connect with external parties, all communication is encrypted, protected and backed up to mitigate risk from outside exposure such as malware or ransomware attack.
From customer support all the way to the board of directors, data privacy and security procedures involve every level of our organization, which is why the accreditation process is organization-wide at PNT; this includes continued education as well as a mandate that every employee pass HIPAA training on an annual basis.
A Stamp of Approval Stakeholders Have Come to Trust
More and more healthcare organizations, as well as state and federal entities are requiring accreditation and/or certification for business associates. Before even beginning the RFP process, potential customers want to know that the organization they are about to begin a business conversation with is not only capable of doing the work but will do it with all the regulatory requirements in place.
That’s why achieving EHNAC accreditation provides us with an industry recognized ‘stamp of approval’ so that prospective customers and stakeholders know from the get-go our commitment to managing health data with integrity and effectiveness while also providing peace of mind that stringent security protocols are in place at PNT.