Understanding HIPAA and How to Protect Your Medical Records

Understanding HIPAA and How to Protect Your Medical Records

Medical records are essential resources that help you get the best and correct treatments when visiting a hospital. Your medical records are among the many pieces of information used by doctors and physicians to perform diagnostics and decide the right treatments to deliver based on your medical history. Today, medical records are stored electronically for easier access and management.


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Since Electronic Medical Records or EMRs contain a lot of sensitive information, it is essential that you know how to protect your EMRs properly. There is a security standard in place, along with best practices you can incorporate for maximum security. Here are the things you need to know about protecting your EMRs.

HIPAA and Information Security

The HIPAA Privacy Rules was the first nationwide standard put in place to protect your personal information. It is clear that EMRs and other personal details are sensitive information that must be handled with the utmost care, hence the strict security standards.

HIPAA compliance is the start. When deciding which storage solution to use for storing your EMRs in the cloud, for instance, opting for one that complies with the HIPAA Privacy Rules is the only way to go. The regulation also governs how health records can be released (only with your consent) and how sharing of information among doctors should be conducted.

The healthcare industry is taking this standard seriously. In an article titled “Why Modern Hospitals Need Encrypted Paging,” you can learn about how the healthcare industry is even encrypting short communications sent through pagers or smartphones for maximum protection. With these measures in place, you know your personal details are in good hands.

A Proactive Approach

Of course, you can’t simply rely on the system to better protect your EMRs. There are steps you need to take to ensure maximum security. You can start by using encryption to secure all digital medical records. 256-bit encryption is the standard, and there is plenty of software and apps that can help you encrypt your medical records on any device.

If you store your EMRs in the cloud, make sure you use a strong password and you handle access management properly. The usual “123456” or “password” password doesn’t cut it; over 50% of data theft happens because of weak passwords, so make sure you don’t make the same mistake.

Lastly, always keep backups in secure locations. Keeping an encrypted flash drive for safekeeping is a good start.

Get Informed

The last element of good security is knowing or getting informed. Don’t just do what you are told. Learn about how to handle EMRs and make informed decisions every time. You don’t, for example, always have to say yes when a doctor asks for access to your cloud EMR account. Make the decision only when you know it is the right thing to do.

The more you know about EMRs, HIPAA Privacy Rules, and how to properly protect your medical records and personal details, the better you will be at securing these sensitive details. Take the time to learn more about how the healthcare industry is implementing security measures – such as the encrypted pager we mentioned earlier – and be in control of your own medical records.