HIPAA Compliance is a Business Decision

A couple of weeks ago, I was talking with a technology vendor who is starting to move into the healthcare space. Their technology isn’t used in the creation or manipulation of patients’ protected health information (PHI), but they do store information on behalf of healthcare organizations that could potentially include PHI. They wanted to know, “Are we required to comply with HIPAA?” Technically – yes. On the other hand, there are hundreds of healthcare organizations and healthcare vendors who act ...

It is Time for Us to Take Control of Our Data!

The EquiFax breach really has me angry.  Mostly because I have no control over any aspect of this mess.  EquiFax scoops up data on all of us without our consent.  They seem unaccountable and untouchable.   With a last name like mine, I’ve had many opportunities to dispute incorrect data on my credit reports, which is always time consuming and irritating.  They make it known how unimportant you are and assume you are “guilty” unless you prove otherwise.  They collect data on all the people in th ...

The Equifax Data Breach – What You should do to Protect Yourself!

Stealing headlines from Hurricane Irma was the revelation that Equifax experienced a major data breach during the summer.  Equifax is one of the “big three” credit monitoring services and therefore the data they collect on each of us is broad and deep.  They estimate that data for 143 million people -  nearly half the population of the United States – has been stolen!What does this breach mean for you?  Your financial history and ability to buy a home, new car, or even get healthcare could ...

Think you can take your time when breached? Think Again!

In January of this year, the HHS Office of Civil Rights levied a $475,000 fine against Presence Health for taking too long to notify their patients - as well as the OCR - after discovering the breach of PHI (protected health information). The incident occurred in October 2013 when Presence Health, based in Illinois, discovered that hundreds of physical documents containing patient names, birth dates, medical record numbers, and surgery details for 836 patients were missing.  They did not report the breach ...

An Ounce of Prevention – Why HIPAA Guidelines should be your standard operating procedures

The American Heart Association lists heart disease as the #1 cause of death in the US with nearly 800,000 deaths per year. In comparison, more than 3.1 million patients have been impacted in the first half of 2017 by a data breach that led to the theft of protected health information (PHI). That's right — in half the time, nearly four times as many people have been impacted by an information breach as have died from heart disease! Yet an estimated two thirds of medical practices remain at risk of bei ...

Closing the Cybersecurity Gap

As we hear more and more about breaches and ransomware in businesses and especially healthcare, it is becoming an even greater concern for healthcare business owners. It is no longer if you will be attacked, but when and how often.The first step in closing the cybersecurity gap is to realize that you can't do it on your own. Cybersecurity is not finding your basic "IT guy" that "can fix it". It is about obtaining the right resource whether that is a full time hire or a managed service.The next thin ...

Buckle Up, It’s Going to be a Wild Cyber Ride!

Breathing a sigh of relief that the WannaCry ransomware attack didn’t hit your organization?  Thinking you’ve dodged that bullet?  Well, think again!  If trends are any indication, and they typically are, I think it’s going to get a lot bumpier.  Below are some incidents that lead me to to this conclusion.  So, buckle up and hold on tight!January 2015 – Largest Single Healthcare Breach - Anthem Insurance breach affecting over 80 million people.  Investigations point to state sponsored cybe ...

Best Defense Against Ransomware is a Good Backup

By now, most have heard or been affected by the WannaCry ransomware that has spread to over 150 countries at last count.The WannaCry ransomware started taking over users' files on Friday, demanding $300 to restore access.Hundreds of thousands of computers have been affected so far. Computer giant Microsoft said the attack should serve as a wake-up call.The first line of defense in this is always having a properly maintained firewall both on your network and on each individual computer system. Ho ...

The greatest threat comes from within

Sometimes it is easy to forget that the greatest threat is from within. In today’s focus on cyber-security world, we tend to focus on keeping people out of our network as a primary method to keep our sensitive data, such as ePHI, safe. While that is incredibly important, we should make sure not to overlook the threat posed by those we do grant access. How much of a threat is it? Well, roughly half of all attacks originate from inside the company - and not all are with malicious intent.Part of the prob ...

HIMSS17 – Are medical devices the weak link in cyber security?

According to a post on HIPAA Journal, 60% of healthcare organizations have already introduced networked medical devices into their technical infrastructure. Networked medical devices are the healthcare version of the “internet of things” (IoT) – smart devices that communicate with applications, such as the EHR, and with one another without human intervention. The problem – many medical devices aren’t cyber-secure!  89% of the organizations reporting the use of networked medical devices also repor ...

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