Keeping patient data secure is a fundamental responsibility for any medical clinic, and it is a matter of utmost importance. The confidentiality and integrity of medical information are essential for the proper functioning of the institution, as well as for patient trust, in addition to the importance of being in compliance with data protection regulations.
But after all, what is needed to keep your clinic safe without compromising your patients' data? In this article, we will discuss the best practices and strategies to ensure data security in a clinic, addressing issues such as regulatory compliance, technology, staff training, and security policies.
Before we continue, we need to know: Have you ever heard of the Ninsaúde Apolo health clinics system? The Ninsaúde Apolo medical software features a fast and comprehensive schedule, and personalized electronic medical records for each specialty with legal validity, teleconsultation, financial control, odontogram, and much more. Schedule a demonstration or try the Ninsaúde Apolo clinic system right now!
The foundation for patient data security begins with regulatory compliance. In many countries, there are specific regulations governing the protection of health data, such as the HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) in the United States, the LGPD (Lei Geral de Proteção de Dados) in Brazil, and the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) in the European Union.
It is crucial that clinics are aware of the legal obligations in their jurisdiction and take steps to comply with these regulations, and the safest way to do so is by using management software to store patient data. In this case, we recommend the Ninsaúde Apolo clinic management system, as it is fully compliant with the laws and regulations mentioned above, which will provide more security for professionals when conducting their appointments.
Data Access and Control Policies
Establishing data access and control policies is a vital step in safeguarding patient information. This means that only authorized personnel should have access to medical records. Each employee should have an appropriate level of access based on their roles and job requirements. Access control should be rigorously monitored and regularly reviewed.
In clinics that still use paper records, conducting this type of control can be somewhat complicated, but with medical software, it is easy to limit access to specific documents. For instance, by using Ninsaúde Apolo, only users registered as healthcare professionals can view patient histories and their respective medical records, prescriptions, and test requests. For more details you can check our blog "Medical software: is it possible to apply restrictions to users?"
If the user is a secretary or an employee in the financial department, they will not have access to patient medical records through their password unless they also hold a healthcare professional license in the system. In the medical software Ninsaúde Apolo, configuration screens can also be restricted to certain users, so certain individuals cannot even modify permissions to bypass the system. This set of barriers enhances the security of patient data by preventing unauthorized access.
Still about restriction, you may like to check our blog "Safety rules HIPAA - Technical measures".
Providing training for the individuals working in your clinic is a crucial part of patient data security. All team members, from doctors and nurses to receptionists, should be educated about the clinic's data security policies. This includes raising awareness about security risks, password best practices, and the importance of adhering to established policies.
Before beginning the training, it is important to assess the specific needs of your team. This may include identifying knowledge gaps, areas of risk, and regulatory requirements. Based on the training needs assessment, you can create a training plan that includes the elements we will address below.
- Learning Objectives: Clearly define what you expect employees to learn and achieve from the training.
- Training Content: Identify the specific topics that will be covered, such as security policies, regulations, cybersecurity best practices, and incident response procedures.
- Delivery Method: Decide how the training will be delivered. This can include in-person sessions, online training, workshops, or a combination of methods.
- Schedule: Establish a clear schedule for the training, including dates and times.
- Required Resources: Identify the necessary resources, such as instructional materials, training equipment, and qualified instructors.
Training also pertains to the operation of the medical software used in your clinic. To ensure the security of your patient's data, it's important that members of your team know how to correctly handle the system used in patient care.
Using Ninsaúde Apolo, in addition to real-time online training sessions where the team can ask questions and get specific doubts clarified, we also provide a series of video lessons where each screen of the system is explained in detail, along with its functionalities. The advantage of recorded video lessons is that users can pause the video to take notes, rewind or fast forward to sections of interest, and watch them as many times as needed, all at no additional cost. If the user still has any questions about the system, they can contact our support team through one of the company's communication channels (phone, email, or WhatsApp).
Secure Storage: Data Encryption
Secure data storage is essential. Medical records should be kept in storage systems protected by robust security measures, such as encryption, a critical security measure. All patient data should be encrypted, both in transit and at rest. This ensures that even if there is a data breach, attackers will not be able to access sensitive information without the proper decryption key.
In Ninsaúde Apolo, data is automatically encrypted before being written to the disk. Each encryption key is encrypted with a set of master keys. Another detail is that we work with end-to-end security and Grade A quality encryption, which protects data in transit from major internet vulnerabilities.
Furthermore, Ninsaúde Apolo uses more than 30 data centers spread across South America, North America, Europe, Asia, and the Pacific, and with this distribution, we can absorb distributed attacks. Finally, we must mention that our infrastructure is certified compliant with various standards and controls, and undergoes third-party independent audits to test data protection, privacy, and security.
Cyber Threat Protection
Cybersecurity is a growing concern in the healthcare field. Clinics should invest in protection systems against viruses, malware, and hacker attacks. This includes the installation of firewalls, intrusion detection systems, and the maintenance of up-to-date operating systems and software.
This also brings up the issue of personnel training. Many viruses are sent through links in emails or banners on suspicious websites. The staff should be trained not to fall for scams of this kind, in order to know how to identify suspicious links and avoid accessing them.
Security Incident Response
Even with all security measures in place, security incidents can occur. It is essential for the clinic to have a well-defined incident response plan. This includes notifying the relevant authorities, investigating the incident, mitigating the damage, and transparent communication with affected patients.
In this regard, the clinic should implement continuous monitoring systems to identify any suspicious activity or data breach attempts in real-time.
Ensuring the security of patient data in a clinic is a critical responsibility. Regulatory compliance, access and control policies, personnel training, advanced technology, and a well-crafted incident response plan are essential components for ensuring the security of patient data. Data security should be an ongoing priority to protect the confidentiality and integrity of medical information, thereby promoting patient trust and the smooth operation of the clinic.
If you don't yet have management software to keep your data and patient data secure, consider the Ninsaúde Apolo clinic management system. Did you find the tips in this article helpful? Keep following the blog for more content like this.