There’s no doubt that getting into the healthcare field is one of the most promising moves that a person can make. In life there are few certainties, but the necessity of decent medical care will always be one of them. What most people don’t consider, however, is the data privacy compliance requirements that come along with this type of work. Outside data centers are used by innumerable healthcare businesses throughout the country, but some businesses hesitate simply because they are not aware of the benefits. Once these advantages become obvious, however, little doubt exists as to the importance of such data storage.
In 1996, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) was signed into law and it prioritized the protection of patients’ data. The data protected under HIPAA includes any “individually identifiable health information.” This means that almost any information about a patient that is released either through ineptitude or data breach can lead to HIPAA penalties.
Violations that occurred before Feb. 18, 2009 only lead to a $100 fine. If these violations occurred after this date, however, a healthcare business could be fined more than $50,000 per violation and these penalties could continue to build up to $1.5 million in a year. Using a HIPAA compliant data center can do wonders by removing the potential exposure for these types of violations. This is especially true since good-intentioned employees at a business cannot even make the mistake of accidentally revealing too much information.
Keeps Patient Info Safe
As mentioned above, there can be serious consequences for a company if a patient’s data is released. Sadly, this is even more true for the patient. When personal information of a patient makes it into the wrong hands, they can become the victim of medical identity theft. Dishonest individuals will actually seek medical treatment under a victim’s name. Unfortunately, most people don’t even recognize that this is happening until they start receiving bills in the mail.
Anyone who thinks that these breaches aren’t rampant could not be more wrong. Statistics showed that in 2009 alone, there were nearly 500 medical breaches and each breach affected at least 500 or more individuals. Of the largest breaches, 23 percent involved paper records. Considering the high occurrence of these breaches, along with the obviously dangerous role that paper records can play, it is even more apparent why storing a healthcare company’s information off site is vital.
As made obvious by HIPAA penalties, patient data loss can be very costly. Unfortunately, even one minor breach that doesn’t result in high penalties can still have serious financial repercussions. In an effort to avoid possible litigation, most companies will have to pay for credit monitoring services for all of their clients who may have been affected by the breach.
In addition, the bad press from even a minor data loss can be detrimental for a company. This is especially true for healthcare businesses that are still trying to get off of the ground. The chance of these data losses or breaches occurring increases when data is stored on site. Luckily, much of this danger is removed when outside data centers are utilized.
There’s no doubt that the protection of patient and medical data is an absolute necessity in the modern world of networking connectivity. Providing the right type of security can be difficult, but outside data centers make this easy. These storage centers will not only benefit patients whose information will remain safe, but it will also benefit the healthcare company that utilizes the service to avoid the consequences of unprofessional data storage.
Paralegal Kelly Kovacic understands how paramount patients’ privacy is and writes this article to bring awareness to the many different choices available for data storage. Quality Technology Service is a HIPAA compliant data center that has integrated data and cloud services to support today’s most complex IT environments, including the healthcare field. You can have peace of mind knowing that your records and your patients’ information is protected.