Risk Management in Healthcare IT
The healthcare industry is one of the fastest growing industries today. This has been attributed to the increased demand to seek for a healthy living and the ability to access better medical services. Physiotherapy in Brampton and across many countries of the world has been growing steadily for years now, and there is every indication that this trend will continue into the foreseeable future.
This is just one of the many healthcare sub sectors that continues to grow exponentially year after year. This unprecedented surge in demand for better healthcare has forced healthcare organizations to demand strong and robust IT systems. The organizations are seeking to improve their efficiency through this.
Today, you will discover that healthcare organizations have their IT departments like any other organization. Healthcare organizations manage the entire patient treatment cycle using the IT systems they have installed. That is, right from admissions to discharges. Healthcare organizations perceive IT as a value enhancer, not as “the cost-center” they once considered it to be.
However, the main challenge in this total reliance on IT is that even the smallest error in the IT system can crumble healthcare organizations to their knees. Many healthcare IT systems/network managers are finding their jobs to be more difficulty. This is because federal laws like HIPAA have increased their scrutiny on healthcare IT systems security as well as the integrity of patient data.
Healthcare organizations are facing numerous challenges from the rapidly growing, technical and sophisticated technology. This has raised the need for comprehensive risk management.
The healthcare organizations can rely on the strategies they develop to determine whether the benefits of a given device outweigh the risks it poses to its IT systems.
In this case, healthcare IT experts have been able to provide insights to areas which pose numerous risks and how they should be managed. They have been able to come up with best practices and risk management strategies.
The following are some of the IT risks faced by healthcare organizations and how to manage them.
Health information exchanges
Also known as HIEs, they ensure that patient medical data is electronically available across different healthcare organizations. This has raised concerns about the privacy and the security of the patient’s data. The risks in health information exchanges arise from the numerous systems and organizations involved.
However, it is important to establish a common security framework to ensure that the data being shared is secure. The frameworks should be used consistently across all the healthcare organizations sharing the information.
The significant funds tied to satisfying the meaningful use criteria usually pose a major risk for both healthcare organizations and the service providers. Frequent audits reveal that many healthcare organizations are worried about being adequately prepared.
Healthcare organizations should ensure they formally assign accountability for meaningful use attestation to either internal or external team. These teams should be charged with gathering and maintaining the necessary documents to comply with the certification requirements.
Organizations which usually take an informal approach to attestation normally realize that their critical components become vulnerable to attacks.
Almost every day there are new reports about medical data security breaches, and this puts HIPAA at significant risk for the organizations. It is a challenging task to maintain the security of healthcare information. Also, healthcare organizations’ readiness for regular audits from the office of civil rights (OCR) is another concern.
Therefore, healthcare organizations must put comprehensive policies and strategies in place for them to comply with HIPAA requirements. This includes physical, technical and administrative safeguards.
The policies and procedures should be implemented and updated on a regular basis. Also, the organizations should retain documentation demonstrating adherence to these policies.
The network systems in healthcare organizations might not have the necessary integrity or can be weak to stand external or internal attacks or threats. This can very easily lead to unauthorized access or theft of critical data.
Also, crashes which prevent users from accessing critical systems and application can occur as a result of this. This has an adverse impact on both patient safety and staff productivity.
Therefore, healthcare organizations must ensure they secure their network. Some of the common security measures which can be employed include security patches, access restrictions, firewalls, and redundancy.