How to keep patient information protected in a healthcare crisis, like the COVID-19 outbreak

March 27, 2020   |   Healthcare Professional

Keeping patient information protected is a crucial part of business. Exposure of patient data, whether virtually or physically can lead to breaches of patient confidentiality and HIPAA violations.

Helpful Hint #1

Families and friends are bombarding their loved ones’ providers with questions, unsolicited commentary and more. In these chaotic situations, it becomes overwhelming and can sometimes lead to unintentional patient confidentiality breaches.

Make sure you know exactly who is and is not on the patient’s HIPAA approved information sharing form.

Helpful Hint #2

Your own network of peers are curious of all the events unfolding in your facility. Naturally, everyone wants to be in the know, and you just happen to be on the frontlines of this pandemic. While it is okay for healthcare employees to share general, non-private information, make sure you are prioritizing your patients’ right to confidentiality. Don’t share photos or comment on social media posts that could identify patients. Be careful of the details you provide in casual conversation that could be a breach of patient confidentiality.

Helpful Hint #3

Healthcare workers are being summoned in a million directions. Between moving back and forth from computer to printers and credit card machines, or from the nurse station to patient rooms or the doctor’s office, there is increased risk of patient data being left exposed. Make sure computer lock screens are used each time you walk away from your computer station. Ensure you have password protection on any device, software or program that holds patient data or confidential information.

In addition to HIPAA defense coverage on policies, CM&F offers Cyber Liability Insurance that protects your organization from cyber-related data breaches, which is on the rise with the increased usage of Telehealth during this crisis. Login to your individual account to make sure you are covered in the event of a HIPAA related incident, and make sure your business is covered for cyber patient data theft or sharing of HIPAA-covered information.

For more information on COVID-19, check out our guide that includes free resources and key information about why liability insurance is crucial during this time.

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