HHS declares increased enforcement of privacy protocols

Innovations in the healthcare IT sector are providing many unique benefits for facilities across the country by helping improve the quality of patient care through more comprehensive monitoring and error reduction.

However, although digitizing medical records affords healthcare providers with the resources to provide patients with the most applicable treatment, having such a broad cross section of this confidential data available online presents a heightened possibility of a data breach.

To address growing instances of privacy incidents as medical records are digitized, Leon Rodriguez, the director of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services' (HHS) Office for Civil Rights stated at the 20th National HIPAA Summit in Washington, D.C. on Monday March 26 that the government would be increasing enforcement of data protection provisions, reports Fierce Health IT.

"The environment needs to change. The same vigilance that providers bring to the fraud and abuse environment they should apply to the HIPAA environment," said Rodriguez.

Interestingly, Rodriguez mentioned that most of the recorded data incidents were the result of human error rather than tech-savvy hackers.

In order to avoid the embarrassment, legal and financial sanctions that a facility may experience after a privacy incident has occurred, it would be wise for small facility managers to partner with a medical technology consulting company to implement medical practice management software such as Allscripts MyWay.

With easy customization, these professionals can seamlessly integrate the software into an existing infrastructure so that facility managers can keep close watch on their staff members and ensure that negligence or lax security protocols do not lead to a breach that could tarnish the practice's reputation and violate patient trust.