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How Hospitals Can Protect Patients From Identity Theft

3 Mins read
  • You have more power than you think to help protect patients from identity theft. With methods like stronger network protection and the help of a consultant, you'll be on your way

Modern technology has been a blessing for healthcare providers. Each advancement in medical tech improves the ability of doctors to diagnose and treat patients. However, that dependence on advanced tech inherently entails a certain degree of risk. There are numerous parties interested in obtaining the personal data of others. In order to protect your patients’ personal data from identity theft, you’ll need to take the steps to eliminate as much of that risk as possible.

identity theft

Why Hospitals Are a Target to Identity Theft

Medical facilities depend on several data points for each patient in order to keep track of them all. This is necessary because it helps to distinguish between multiple people with the same name. This also helps to quickly identify patients in order to pull up their medical records. However, it’s this kind of identity confirmation that can be stolen if it falls into the wrong hands. Hackers can profit from the illicit acquisition of this kind of data in a number of ways.

For example, the personal data in a given patient’s medical records is substantial enough to allow hackers to take out a loan in the victim’s name. That kind of power means that this information is incredibly valuable on the black market. While some of the consequences of identity theft can be alleviated, medical records are unique in that they can complicate the treatment of the patient for years or even decades after the fact as a result of erroneous, illegal use by another party. For these reasons, medical records are one of the most sought after targets for hackers. It is imperative that medical facilities bolster their security in order to protect the patients that depend on them.

How You Can Avoid Compromising Your Network

Protecting patients from identity theft requires that medical professionals first understand the strengths and weaknesses of the systems they use to store patients’ medical information. For example, healthcare apps are now widely adopted in recent years. However, these apps can become a liability without ample API security. Because APIs are publicly available for app developers, they are obtained and circumvented by hackers. Storing patient information is an essential part of providing healthcare. However, you should be aware that storing that data on sites provides a clearly identifiable target for hackers. Instead, all medical records can and should be stored in the cloud.

Cloud storage is a safer alternative to storing digital files on a physical device. This is because it decentralizes that information and gives hackers no clear indication of where it is stored or how to access it. Password security is one of the more common cybersecurity stumbling blocks. Taking the steps to create passwords that are difficult for hackers to guess is important. However, multi-factor authentication can further deter hackers by demanding supplementary credentials in addition to the user’s password. Most commonly, this requires the use of an authorized smartphone. This something that the average person will have on their person at all times.

Why You Need Expert Consultants

Because of the high stakes involved in securing your patients’ medical records, cybersecurity is of the utmost importance. This means that your facility needs comprehensive coverage. Hackers and cybersecurity experts are constantly trying to outmaneuver each other. This often results in a patchwork of various pieces of software and best practices in order to counter all of the tools hackers have at their disposal.

The complexity of cybersecurity all but necessitates that you bring a team of cybersecurity professionals into the fold. They will help protect your patients’ sensitive data from all possible threats. Network traffic monitoring and analysis are potent methods of anticipating potential cyber attacks. However, it takes a keen eye and access to your network’s metadata in order to establish suspicious behavioral patterns. Cybersecurity software comes in a variety of shapes and sizes, and comprehensive coverage requires an intricate knowledge of the pros and cons of each. Your staff will also need basic training for what to do or not do to minimize the risk of data theft.

Securing the personal information of your patients requires at least a basic understanding of possible threats and countermeasures. It also depends on trusting experts in the field of cybersecurity. With the immense amount of private data moving through medical facilities and the potential value of that information, comprehensive cybersecurity is all that can guarantee the safety of your patients.

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Paisley Hansen is a freelance writer and expert in health, fitness, beauty, and fashion. When she isn’t writing she can usually be found reading a good book or hitting the gym.
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