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HIT Security Column

Death to Faxes

Death to Faxes

Death to faxes. There, I said it. Nearly every medical organization in this country still uses fax machines. This vintage, 1960s technology was replaced long ago in some industries. But many practices still send dozens or even hundreds of faxes a day. It is familiar, reliable technology. Unfortunately, the fax machine is also a major […]

June 8, 2015 | By More
HIPAA and Interoperability

HIPAA and Interoperability

HIPAA security and interoperability depend on one another. The federal government is pushing hard for both providers and vendors to adopt interoperability. Partly as a result, new HIPAA regulations are likely on the horizon. The government has already doubled down on quality-reporting with the new SGR Fix, which will consolidate Meaningful Use, PQRS, and the […]

May 18, 2015 | By More
Show Me Your HIPAA Security File

Show Me Your HIPAA Security File

Show me your HIPAA security file and I’ll show you mine. Did you know that HIPAA requires you to maintain security documentation for six years? This requirement applies to both Covered Entities and Business Associates. If you open your security file and nothing but a half-eaten sandwich falls out, the time to start one is […]

April 13, 2015 | By More
HIPAA Requires Access to Health Records

HIPAA Requires Access to Health Records

Ransomware is a growing threat for healthcare providers Healthcare providers may not be aware that HIPAA requires access to health records, in addition to protecting data from breaches. Remember that the HIPAA Security Rule is designed to protect the Confidentiality, Integrity, and Availability (CIA) of health information. When we think of HIPAA, we usually think […]

March 23, 2015 | By More
Disaster Recovery is a HIPAA Requirement

Disaster Recovery is a HIPAA Requirement

Disaster recovery is probably the most neglected area of HIPAA compliance for ambulatory practices. Hospitals have disaster recovery and business continuity plans because they care for critical patients and stand to lose many thousands of dollars each day they are closed. But many ambulatory practices imagine they’ll muddle through any disaster. They may not realize […]

February 9, 2015 | By More
Medical Mergers Bring HIPAA Breaches

Medical Mergers Bring HIPAA Breaches

Hospitals and medical groups are in a frenzy of mergers and acquisitions, but many are not protecting themselves from the increased risk of HIPAA breaches that results. The latest example comes from Northwestern Medical Group, a highly respected healthcare organization based in Chicago. On December 19th, Northwestern announced that an employee laptop with nearly 3,000 […]

January 4, 2015 | By More
Vendors and Other Vulnerabilities

Vendors and Other Vulnerabilities

The largest data breaches of the last year occurred when cyber-criminals used vendors to gain unauthorized access to computer networks. Unfortunately, it is only a matter of time before the same methods enable a massive breach of healthcare data. In fact, I would wager that hackers have already used a Business Associate to plant malware […]

November 10, 2014 | By More