Hospitals are entrusted with some of the most sensitive and personal information a person can share. Protecting the privacy of patients should be a top priority for every hospital. Unfortunately, hospitals often fall short in this area, putting patients at risk for identity theft, fraud, and other forms of abuse. Let’s look at the main reasons why every healthcare center should value patients’ privacy.
Avoiding Identity Theft
One of the most common ways criminals can commit identity theft is by stealing medical records. This type of identity theft can have devastating consequences. It can lead to the thief opening new lines of credit and even obtaining sensitive information such as social security numbers.
Hospitals can help protect their patients from this type of identity theft by ensuring that patient records are kept safe and secure. Hackers can use the information to file false insurance claims. Unfortunately, these claims cost the healthcare industry billions of dollars every year.
There are also false prescription claims. This is where the identity thief will use the patient’s information to get prescription drugs from the pharmacy. In some cases, these drugs end up on the streets.
Unfortunately, patients are not always the only ones who can commit fraud or abuse. There have been cases of healthcare providers stealing patients’ identities, selling their information, or even committing insurance fraud.
Hospitals can help prevent these abuses by creating awareness among the team on cybersecurity concerns. They should also have strict guidelines for reporting suspicious or illegal activity.
Besides, every hospital should consider managed cybersecurity services as part of its commitment to protecting patient privacy. These services can help hospitals keep their systems and data safe from cyber-attacks. Competent cybersecurity experts will evaluate your medical center’s IT infrastructure before planning the way forward.
It helps develop a plan in place for responding to data breaches. This strategy can include steps for notifying patients, investigating the breach, and taking corrective action to prevent future incidents. Find IT specialists who can conduct good penetration tests regarding the security of patient data for the whole facility. Sometimes, knowing how vulnerable your databases are, helps you know the right tools for remediation. See if the team can also help in policy development.
Fraud is any deception or dishonest behavior. It can happen when someone provides false information to gain something of value, such as money or property. When it comes to healthcare, fraud can take many different forms.
For example, patients may provide false information to receive the treatment they are not entitled to. Or a healthcare provider may submit false claims to insurance companies to receive higher payments. Hospitals can help prevent fraud by implementing strict policies and procedures for handling patient records and billing.
Good Overall Image
Protecting patient privacy is the right thing to do and it’s good for business. When patients trust that their information will be kept safe and secure, they are more likely to choose that hospital for their healthcare needs.
A hospital’s reputation can also suffer if allegations of patient privacy violations. This can lead to negative publicity and a loss of business. By ensuring that patient privacy is a top priority, hospitals can help protect their patients, reputation, and bottom line.
In addition to the moral and ethical reasons for protecting patient privacy, there are also legal requirements that hospitals must comply with. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) is a federal law that requires healthcare providers to take measures to protect the confidentiality of patient information.
Failure to comply with HIPAA can result in hefty fines and jail time. Hospitals can help ensure compliance with HIPAA by implementing policies and procedures for handling patient information. They should also train their staff to handle and protect patient data adequately.
Avoidance of Losses
Another reason hospitals should prioritize protecting patient privacy is to prevent losses. When patients’ information is compromised, it can lead to financial losses for the hospital. For example, if a hospital’s database is hacked and patient information is lost, the hospital may be responsible for any resulting identity theft or fraud.
Hospitals can help prevent these losses by implementing security measures to protect their systems and data. They should also have insurance coverage in place to help cover any losses.
Patient privacy is a crucial issue for hospitals. Hospitals can help prevent fraud, abuse, and compliance issues by taking measures to protect patients’ information. Additionally, protecting patient privacy is good for business and can help prevent financial losses. Hospitals should ensure that their staff receives adequate training on patient privacy and security procedures.