protecting healthcare data

Healthcare Records: How to Protect Patients’ Sensitive Information

protecting healthcare data

The explosion of online sensitive healthcare data now available online must be secured to protect patient privacy and advance data integrity.

The following guest post on protecting sensitive healthcare record data was submitted by Rachelle Wilber.

The Health Insurance Portability & Accountability Act (HIPAA) of 1996 requires that any entity that is privileged to collect or store sensitive patient healthcare information keep the information secured and protected against unauthorized access or use. A violation of the HIPPA law has serious implications to any healthcare practitioner or facility. By being vigilant and taking these action steps, you can help to protect the sensitive information of the patients who visit your healthcare facility.

Cloud Encryption
Cloud-based data storage and applications service providers are allowing healthcare organizations to use their own encryption keys. These keys are unique to your facility and your own information technology officers can create them. By using these customized encryption keys for data that your healthcare facility uploads to the cloud, you can reduce the risk of unauthorized users gaining access to usable information. If a hacker did get into your database, they would be unlikely to be able to break the encryption key.

Coding Sensitive Data

In addition to encrypting data, you can also code it as it is entered. For example, if a patient has HIV, that condition could be given a numeric code rather than the name of the virus. Only authorized users at your facility would know what the code means.

Healthcare Administration

When you are ready to further your healthcare career and learn more techniques on coding and encryption of sensitive data, consider enrolling in one of many healthcare administration master’s programs that many universities offer. These accredited programs help you to master all aspects of administration that are essential to running a productive, efficient and compliant doctor’s office, clinic or hospital. You will learn about data administration as well as coordination of services, billing, communications and data analysis.

Physical Security

The physical security of patient information is also important. If your facility uses or still has any paper medical charts, they should be kept under lock and key and signed in and out when they are used. Laptops, tablets and other electronic devices should be password-protected. The computers and tablets should also be locked and put away when they are not in use.

By employing these measures in your healthcare facility, you can protect the sensitive patient data that you collect. Maintaining the security of the data helps to keep you compliant with the law. These measures also show to your patients that you care and respect their rights to privacy.

Rachelle Wilber is a freelance writer living in the San Diego, California area. She graduated from San Diego State University with her Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Media Studies. She tries to find an interest in all topics and themes, which prompts her writing. When she isn’t on her porch writing in the sun, you can find her shopping, at the beach, or at the gym. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook: @RachelleWilber;

Homecare: The World’s Fastest Growing Industry?

The following guest post on homecare was submitted by Be Independent Home Care.

As of now, the US healthcare industry is worth $84 billion and employs 1.7 million people. Employment in homecare as a home health aide is one of the fastest growing occupations in the country, with a growth rate of 38% expected by 2024 from a decade previously. On the basis of those statistics, the industry appears to be thriving.

A further inspection of the full picture, though, shows that even this substantial growth rate might not be enough to keep up with demand. The number of senior citizens in the U.S. is getting larger and larger every single day, with the senior population projected to reach 83 million by the end of this year. Where once there was 11 prospective family caregivers per person in need of care, that ratio could dwindle to four possible caregivers per person in the next 30 years. The days of lay caregiving seem to be coming to an end.

Furthermore, the need is not just for more healthcare professionals to provide the necessary care; the requisite standards of care are growing higher all the time. Healthcare providers and agencies need to meet strict licensing regulations which, while necessary in order to ensure that patients are cared for adequately, will further limit the pool of potential caregivers.

Be Independent Home Care, an Irish provider of one-on-one homecare, has produced this absorbing and thought-provoking infographic on the current state of the healthcare industry and the road down which it is traveling. The demand for healthcare services means that the industry should be booming, but is the supply of qualified healthcare professionals there to meet it?

homecare is a fast growing business and requires accurate patient ID

healthcare of the future will change the way we are treated as patients

Infographic: Healthcare of the Future

The global healthcare industry is riding the crest of a wave of major technological revolution, with the industry standing to gain billions of dollars from the dawn of virtual home visits and apps that can diagnose your illness. To give you an idea of just how big an impact this technology-led future may have, research shows that replacing ambulatory visits with virtual healthcare can save 37,000 American physicians an average of five minutes per encounter, resulting in time savings to the value of more than $6.5 billion.

Home Healthcare Adaptations, an Irish-based provider of household adaptations for people with limited mobility, has created this infographic which explores the brave new future that awaits the healthcare industry. Thanks to technological advances such as hologram house calls, which involve a doctor ‘visiting’ a patient in their home in hologram form, healthcare operations can be carried out far more rapidly. With patients receiving quicker treatment, the demands on doctors and nurses are eased, allowing them to better tend to the needs of patients, which in turn leads to patients being more likely to receive the help they need. It’s a cyclical process where everybody wins.

However, there are some obstacles that need to be overcome before virtual healthcare truly takes a vice-like hold on the industry. Any doctors providing telemedicine services will need to receive, or quality for, licensing, while the need for new reimbursement channels will require the use of financial and human resources in streamlining the smooth operation of this technology.

These obstacles pale in comparison, though, to the potential game-changing benefits that are on offer. Virtual healthcare may still seem like a fantasy for now, but it won’t be that way for much longer.

healthcare of the future

healthcare apps medication adherence reminders

Medication Nonadherence: Healthcare’s Avoidable Achilles Heel

healthcare apps medication adherence reminders

The rising use of mobile healthcare apps to increase medication adherence is helping reduce costs and improve health outcomes.

It’s no secret that medication use and health care costs have dramatically increased during the previous decade in the U.S. According to the International Society for Pharmacoeconomics and Outcome Research (ISPOR), adherence is “the extent to which a patient acts in accordance with the prescribed interval, and dose of a dosing regimen.” Adherence to medication therapy is often one of if not the most critical aspect of medical treatment, particularly the treatment of chronic conditions such as diabetes and hypertension. Perhaps even more alarming is that 20% of nonadherence cases are for prescriptions that never get filled! Despite the importance of adhering to a medication schedule, medication nonadherence is a serious problem costing Americans anywhere between $100 billion to $289 billion a year with the World Health Organization (WHO) recently stating that the average nonadherence rate is 50% among those with chronic illnesses. Furthermore, research indicates that failure to follow prescription instructions causes approximately 125,000 deaths per year and up to 10% of all hospitalizations. The consequences of nonadherence include: Read more

patient identification in healthcare

Patient Identification and the Cosmos – Can we Draw a Correlation?

patient identification in healthcare

Can the big bang teach us something about the importance of patient identification in healthcare?

It may be a stretch of the imagination to draw a comparison between the Big Bang theory and patient identification in healthcare but that is exactly what we did in our latest article posted over at In an effort to illustrate the importance of accurate patient identification in healthcare, we point out that just as the Big Bang is considered the prevailing cosmological model that explains and is responsible for our existence, accurate patient ID could also be considered the genesis of quality healthcare in a patient centric universe.

Widely considered one of the most complex and pressing issues for healthcare to solve, patient identification does not truly get the attention it deserves within the industry especially when discussing health information exchanges, interoperability, and the clean exchange of health data across disparate networks. Our goal is to not only draw more attention to the importance of solving the patient identification dilemma, but to illustrate how critical getting patient ID correct is in the larger context of healthcare delivery.

Thank you to Health IT Outcomes for allowing us the opportunity to publish this post on their site, please read and leave us a comment!