Protect your patient data, and give everyone peace of mind. Include all clinicians who access your systems in “cyber hygiene” and security efforts.
Cybersecurity doesn’t just affect your operations. It can have a serious impact on patient care, as well as your organization’s reputation and your ability to attract quality clinicians. According to a new survey, over half (55%) of physicians say they’ve been a cyberattack victim; and 74% say that their access to patient records and electronic health records (EHRs) have been blocked because of cybersecurity concerns. Don’t forget to involve physicians and other clinicians in your efforts to prevent cybercrime.
A vast majority of physicians (85%) say that they believe sharing protected health information (PHI) is “very” or “extremely” important. However, they also express concerns about the “cyber hygiene” of other organizations and individuals. While you can’t control what other organizations do, you can seek to find out how they protect information and work with them to increase your system’s security as necessary.
While most of the physicians your organization works with aren’t employees, they are part of your team. Only about 20% of small physician practices have an in-house security official, and they usually count on their IT vendors for help. Offering cybersecurity support to physicians is likely to win their loyalty and confidence, as well as your ability to protect patient information. If possible, you might consider donating security-related hardware/software to their practices.
Consider sharing this cybersecurity checklist with both physicians and your own employees. This includes guidance such as:
- Create a strong password and change it frequently (every 90 days at a minimum). Don’t keep reminders about passwords anyplace where someone else can see them (such as on a Post-It note on your desk). Avoid passwords with obvious information (such as a spouse’s or child’s name) or numbers (such as a birthday or address).
- Make sure you use the most current versions of web browser software and enable automatic updates.
- Purchase and install anti-virus software.
- Don’t leave devices open, turned on, or unlocked when they are out of your sight/control.
- Turn on firewalls to protect data.
When everyone is confident about the security of the information they’re using and sharing, it improves teamwork and communication. It also enables people to be more efficient; and it reduces stress. Take a minute today to find out what cybersecurity concerns or thoughts your physicians and other clinicians have. Work with them on solutions.