The EMR lauded for its effective information capture and effortless dissemination has certainly impacted the healthcare sector. The improved productivity and output are just initial benefits the healthcare sector can derive from EMR. Through proper utilization, EMR enables physicians to contribute much more significantly with its information architecture and data mining capabilities.
However while it has a lot of potential, EMR also poses a difficult task securing and protecting sensitive information. With nearly 70% of hospitals and care centers already utilizing EMR, there is an increasing concern for security and safety of patient health records. With medical records being deemed personal property of patients, a security breach can be disastrous.
The HITECH act prioritizes health IT security and the ONC is dedicated in making electronic health information as secure as technically and humanly feasible. With multiple compliance bodies already established to initiate and dictate portability protocols, it is clear that the HIT industry understands the significance of the change EMR has brought.
Protecting personal health information is vital for both vendors and medical practices. Many cloud based EMR vendors offer intensive security features such as intricate encryptions, remote storage and backups in case of disaster or system failure. Hospitals have also begun training staff on issues such as potential security breaches and the ethical responsibilities they carry as a part of the healthcare community.
Issues such as misuse of personal information or unauthorized access can be resolved by highlighting risks and responsibilities. This can also be achieved through role based access control. It’s common for EHR vendors to provide pre-established accessibility levels for defined roles.
Whilst digital information is thought to be more prone to electronic breach or failure; what is surprising are the numbers of reported physical security breaches for electronic health information. Approximately 80 percent of records lost in the last 5 years were the result of hard drives, laptops, and other storage devices that disappeared. Interestingly only 10 percent of health care information breaches resulted from hacking or Internet crime.
It’s imperative that every practice should ensure utmost diligence and dedication through processes and staff to protect and safeguard the patient’s privacy and health information. Therefore, Cloud based systems are a much better choice with offsite storage, back-up and other advance security features, which a small practice just might not be able to afford. Protecting your patient information is as vital as protecting a life.