We live in an information-driven world: advents such as big data, cloud-based storage, and online databases allow for the gathering and storing of information to a degree unimaginable just a generation ago. Unfortunately, the sheer volume of information and data-- much of it personal-- means we also live in a world increasingly prone to violations of privacy.
This is especially pertinent in the healthcare sector. Medical professionals deal with some of the most sensitive personal information imaginable. HIPAA, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, was passed in part to protect patients from breaches of personal information. This means the onus is on healthcare professionals to keep records secure, safe, and confidential. However, given the sheer amount of data on each patient, this becomes a very difficult task. In the shifting digital landscape, how secure is your information?
Sometimes data breaches are obvious and almost comical in their preventiveness. Sensitive patient information recycled with the regular trash or loads of records disposed of at the local dump: these are egregious-- and preventable-- breaches of patient privacy. In 2014 a Midwest health care system was found in violation of HIPAA regulations by leaving 71 boxes of patient records in a physician’s driveway and was forced to pay $800,000 in a settlement with the Department of Health and Human Services (link is external).
While these types of privacy violations are easily avoided with diligent practice, breeches in digital records are much more difficult to avoid. One reason for this is the lack of HIPAA-compliant digital messaging services. The lack of secure, encrypted person-to-person messaging technology means that health care professionals are forced to rely on outdated, pricy pager systems.
There is also a darker side to challenges to patient privacy. Hackers are more and more often targeting the healthcare sector in order to access patient records and engage in identity theft. In 2016 there were numerous cyberattacks launched on US healthcare groups. As the Washington Post reported in March of 2016 (link is external), the healthcare sector is a “juicy target” for hackers, since the information gained from such attacks can be easily used for financial fraud, identity theft, and blackmailing schemes.
AMTELCO, long a leader in medical professional communication systems, is helping to prevent such costly, damaging breaches of patient information. AMTELCO’s 1Call miSecureMessages is fully encrypted and completely compliant with HIPAA standards. It also streamlines the communication process, allowing healthcare professionals to safely utilize their smartphones in two-way instant communications. In our information-driven world, miSecureMessages helps provide convenience and security for medical professionals.