Why using Gmail, Yahoo Mail, or Hotmail in healthcare is bad

Time and time again we see healthcare organizations using free email accounts. While convenient, it is an extremely dangerous decision in a world where HIPAA fines are increasing in cost and occurrence. If you or your employees have access to or use the free email services from you organization’s network, either officially for business and/or for personal use, you are at an extreme risk of being breached! Why? Think about what can be sent via email. Whether you are using email to send patients r ...

The IoT, Little “Things” with Big Implications

You may have experienced the first coordinated cyber attack using “Internet of Things”, IoT. I bet you are wondering how did it affect me? How did it happen?  Did you notice on October 21st that Facebook and LinkedIn were not available?  Maybe you noticed that Amazon couldn’t take your order, and email was really slow? This was the result of a DDoS attack, Distributed Denial of Service, which have been going on for years, but this one was different. Typically, DDoS attacks are the result of ...

Experian predicts more pain and suffering for healthcare industry

Experian released their fourth annual 2017 DATA BREACH INDUSTRY FORECAST. It covers several industry specific predictions, including Healthcare.  If you haven't heard, healthcare is under attack and it's going to be full on war in 2017.  The cyber attackers are expected to re-invest funds to create more sophisticated software and better targeting of data to steal. A few points made in the report: Protected Healthcare Information (PHI) or patient records are one of the most valuable sources of data ...

HIPAA: Patient Access to Their Information

With all of the cyber-security breaches and fines levied on organizations for lost PHI, it's easy to forget that HIPAA also defines what information must be provided to the patient and transferred to other providers for care and when they change providers. HIPAA has three basic components: Portability - allow for the transfer of patient information to other providers that may provide care to the patient or to the patient themselves. Allow the patient to access their patient information defi ...

From Meaningful Use to MACRA – Security Risk Analysis is still first requirement

  The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued its final rule implementing the Quality Payment Program (QPP) that is part of the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA).  The QPP will reform Medicare payments for more than 600,000 clinicians across the country, and is a major step in improving care across the entire health care delivery system.  As a provider you can choose how you want to participate in the QPP based on your practice size, specialty, location, or pat ...

Drug Lords versus Cyber Criminals

While sipping my morning coffee and watching the news, CBS reported that the cyber crime industry annual revenues now exceed that of the illicit drug industry.  The estimate provided was ONE TRILLION dollars! Wow! I don’t get to use the “trillion” number very often in my work.  In fact, I don’t ever remember using it before, but we are a small business.  The drug lords (even their nick name means rich) seem to have an endless supply of money.  These guys can afford to fabricate a fleet of ...

Value Proposition of a Next-Generation Compliance Platform (2 of 2)

This is the second in a two part series concerning the value of compliance.  Our mission is, Worry-Free Compliance, to help you obtain a culture of compliance through normal business operations.  Our vision is to reduce the complexity, cost and burden of HIPAA compliance using a next-generation compliance management platform. What does a next-generation management platform provide?  Here's a list: Complete Manages the entire compliance process Maintains custom policies and procedure ...

Value Proposition of HIPAA Compliance (1 of 2)

If you've been reading our blog very long you know we've discussed Is HIPAA worth it?, What's the ROI?, etc, etc.  This article is really another way to think about why you need to start working on your HIPAA compliance today. What is the Value Proposition of HIPAA Compliance? Identifies weaknesses that make your business vulnerable and liable Improves protection of your patients’ valuable PHI Protects your business from disruptive events – natural and man-made Fortifies your cyber ...

PHI – Who Really Owns It?

Let's just start off this blog by saying, we're not going to solve the legal question here or today.  However, it is a very important topic to understand.  Here's my feeble attempt to help covered entities (CEs) and business associates (BAs) think about PHI in a new way. PHI at its core is the patient's data. It is to be used to provide healthcare services to the patient and keep them healthy and prevent medical injury or death. The Healthcare industry is supposed to make it readily avail ...

Protect your patients, protect your practice, protect yourself.

The healthcare industry is beginning to realize that HIPAA is here to stay and they are probably going to be audited sooner or later.  What physicians and all healthcare providers need to understand is that if you don't protect your patients' PHI/ePHI the following can happen to your patients as a result of their identity being stolen and used. NOT Protecting Your Patients' (PHI/ePHI): You can cause them financial difficulties or even financial ruin. You can cause them undue stress, even a str ...

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