From the debate over smartphones to ongoing concerns about corporate data breaches, information security is something that touches every entity from government officials to corporate CEOs to consumers. However, it is of utmost concern when it comes to healthcare.
The very sensitive nature of personal health information along with the imperative for constant, easy and mobile communication among healthcare professionals and organizations is presenting a unique challenge for the entire industry. Add in healthcare information privacy laws and other regulations, and it all gets even more complex.
In today’s healthcare industry, outdated and low-security methods of communication are not cutting it anymore. Hospitals, physicians and insurance facilities are adopting different secure messaging apps for healthcare internal needs. Such applications are modeled after the simplicity of consumer instant messaging solutions and are built to be HIPAA compliant. This means that the medical staff can share important, sensitive patient information without the risk of data theft, security breaches and regulatory noncompliance.
Many healthcare professionals and organizations are using HIPAA-compliant text messaging solutions. These applications are a great help for doctors, nurses and other hospital staff in streamlining the efficiency of their patient care. The apps also help them improve workflows; minimize interruptions and many other benefits. In addition, a single dedicated communications platform can help the staff communicate with each other more effectively, and quickly outside of work while still being HIPAA compliant and avoiding steep fines.
To avoid data breaches, companies are employing strategies for keeping data as secure as possible and a top priority. Healthcare data breaches have been steadily increasing in frequency and severity since 2010, according to HealthITSecurity. Breaches can be damaging in many ways, impacting patient care as well as the bottom line. An annual study by the Ponemon Institute and ID Experts found that the average cost of a data breach for a healthcare provider is around $2.2 million and $1 million for a business associate. Overall, healthcare data breaches have cost the industry about $6.2 billion.
Those surveyed for the study attributed the rise in healthcare data breaches to “the sensitivity of health-related information and the large number of ‘data touch’ points, such as different healthcare employees or third parties accessing patient information.” The study revealed that almost 70 percent of providers believe that the healthcare industry is at a greater risk for data security incidents than any other industry.
So how can sensitive patient data be protected in such an environment? A key aspect of data security is encryption. Used in concert with administrative policies addressing authentication, data retention and HIPAA business associate agreements, encryption can be a powerful tool for shielding data. But what exactly is it, and how can it be implemented?
According to the National Institute of Standards and Technology, encryption is the “conversion of plaintext to ciphertext through the use of a cryptographic algorithm. The process involves “combining the contents of a message (‘plaintext’) with a secret password (the encryption ‘key’) in such a way that scrambles the content into a totally new form (‘ciphertext’) that is unintelligible to unauthorized users.
Hucu.ai is a HIPAA compliant, free text messaging application for the healthcare industry that uses encryption technology for secure communication. We at Hucu know that hospitals, physician practices and healthcare organizations need to manage tasks swiftly and efficiently. So we created an entirely HIPAA-compliant, secure, user-friendly messaging solution that enhances internal communications.
In a nutshell, our enterprise-grade platform allows you to send attachments and multimedia files to colleagues so you can share whatever you need, when you need it. Our secure messaging app is BYOD-enabled, saving your organization thousands in equipment and hardware costs.