Your patients trust you to securely handle their sensitive medical information. When it comes to digital security, there are no shortcuts that a dental practice can take. In fact, multiple layers of security are better protection for your medical records against hackers.
But, knowing how to beef up your security measurements takes technical know-how. We'll start you on that path to understand security measures for your patient data. By the end, you'll know how to keep your patients' information as safe as possible. Let's see how security can help your practice!
How to Secure Your Patient Registration Forms from Hackers
HIPAA and HITECH Set Rules on Sharing of Patient Data
You're probably already familiar with HIPAA, which sets rules on how you can share your patient health information (PHI) HITECH goes hand-in-hand with HIPAA and specifies who you can and cannot share this PHI. Under HITECH, any party that you share patient data with must be a "Business Associate" and follow all HIPAA privacy and security rules.
Let's say that your practice is looking to automate your patient registration forms. You and the business that you partner with would sign a Business Associate agreement where the partnering business acts as the Business Associate and your practice acts as the Covered Entity. Regulating the sharing of PHI keeps your patient data in registration forms secure. Learn more how automatic insurance verification saves time for you and your patients.
Compliance and Communication Protocols Secure Data Delivery
Outside of HIPAA and HITECH, a secure dental practice enforces rules for their compliance with and communication of patient data. Here's a tip: use a secure system that sends all communication through HTTPS. You can find whether or not a website uses HTTPS by looking for the green "https" part of the URL in the address bar. If a website is missing HTTPS or appears to be broken, close out of that page right away; your data may be at risk since it's unsecure.
Hackers can intercept your data while it's traveling from you to your destination. They can also re-route your data from its original destination to the hacker's address. Also, we recommend using Transport Layer Security (TLS), which is a protocol that hides data and delivers emails securely. We send out so many emails every day, but still need to take precautions to securely communicate.
Encryption and Decryption Make It Harder for Hackers to Read Your Data
Meeting the basic HIPAA and HITECH requirements is just the start of a strong digital security strategy. The next step to protect data is to make it readable for only the intented recipient. This is where encryption and decryption come into play. Data is encrypted when it goes from a sender to a receiver and decrypted by the receiver.
A strong encryption scheme uses unique values to initialize each of your patient's documents. It also regularly checks that each patient document is valid and every request for a patient's document comes from a trustworthy source. This is how encryption and decryption exceed the HIPAA and HITECH requirements for digital PHI storage and access.
Network Security Uses Redundancy and Separation for Security
Network security is a large system that uses multiple smaller parts working together. It splits up data across groups of servers, so that your data can never be accessed through a single point. Using multiple smaller systems means that each smaller system has to follow network security rules, which provides maximum protection to your patient's data.
A good system never stores encrypted patient documents and their encryption keys in the same group of servers. This separation makes it more difficult for a hacker to access and decrypt your patient's encrypted health information. Finally, the layout of network security provides specific paths for patient data to be accessed by specified parties.
We went over four different ways that you can secure your patient registration forms from hackers. Let's briefly cover what we learned.
What We Learned
Securing your online patient forms takes multiple levels of security. In addition to HIPAA and HITECH rules, there are protocols to ensure secure communication of data on your website and through email. Encryption and decryption schemes make it harder for hackers to read your data. Network security uses multiple subsystems to keep encrypted data separate and give specific points of access to that data.
The first step to securing your patient registration forms is to partner with a company that provides technical expertise in digital security. Find out how PracticeSense meets the highest security standards to secure your online registration forms.