We’ve all heard the saying, “You are only as strong as your weakest link.” In the ever-growing digital world of healthcare, this is a crucial message. Hackers will look to exploit your most vulnerable areas to gain access to electronic protected healthcare information (ePHI). And they do so with dollar signs in mind since healthcare data can bring in lots of money on the black market.
Since many security incidents occur as a result of user error, all workforce members who access health information must receive proper training. But what does this entail?
Train at hire and ongoing
HIPAA requires that all new employees must be trained on your organization’s privacy and security measures for PHI, but that should only be the start. Regular, ongoing training should continue at least once a year, if not quarterly or even monthly, to keep your employees alert and aware of best practices.
Some general points to cover include:
- Never open suspicious attachments or links.
- Be aware that emails can be configured to look as though they came from within the company or from someone you know. Teach how to identify thee phishing emails.
- Create strong passwords and update them as required by your organization.
- Make sure to back up data regularly.
- Only work over secure networks.
- Use anti-virus, anti-malware software.
- Protect data on mobile phones, laptops and USBs.
Train specific to job function
In addition, employees should receive more involved security guidance as dictated by their job responsibilities. Can the employee simply view ePHI? Can they change or transmit the data? Specialized training will result in more adherence and understanding.
Keep training fresh and current
Offer regular educational programs or reminders about security measures. Make training interactive, so that employees can address any questions or concerns that arise. Consider different topics and themes for workshops to ensure that employees stay engaged. And should a security incident occur, employees should be trained on how to avoid a similar event in the future.
Keep technical safeguards up to date
The most secure systems are designed to support their well-trained end users with strong technology and monitoring capabilities. From updating software to establishing firewalls and more, technical safeguards offer another layer of assurance and may help detect a problem in the early stages. Make sure to stay current to provide the greatest level of protection.