Protecting Your Privacy: Safeguarding Any Part of Your Health Information
In today’s world, health-related information matters more than ever. With an increase in data exploitation, protecting your privacy has become an absolute must. Electronic health records can be quite beneficial for healthcare providers to offer faster and more effective diagnosis, personalized treatment, better coordination, and continuity of healthcare, but at the same time, they contribute to a significant risk of data breaches. In this article, we’ll discuss the importance of safeguarding your health information, some effective measures to keep your data safe, and the legal implications of data breaches.
The Information You Store Online
The information that we store online is easy to access, but it is just as easy to be stolen or exploited. Electronic health records consist of pertinent health and personal information, including the patient’s name, address, date of birth, social security number, and insurance information. This sensitive information can be misused and lead to identity theft or financial fraud.
Furthermore, health information is considered sensitive under law, and under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), healthcare providers have the legal obligation to safeguard all private patient information. HIPAA’s Privacy Rule mandates that all health care providers must protect their patients’ health information that they collect, use, and disclose while ensuring that they provide individuals with the legal rights to examine and manage their private health information.
Effective Measures to Keep Your Health Information Safe
The following are some efficient measures that you can take to keep your data safe:
- Use encrypted communications – An encrypted network connection is mandatory whenever you access your electronic health records. Suppose your internet connection is not secure. In that case, it makes it easy for other users to intercept, manage and exploit your information.
- Avoid sharing too much information – Disclosing too much personal information can give hackers a pathway to your personal details. Avoid disclosing sensitive information on social media sites or unsecured websites.
- Use a strong password – Always use a strong password that cannot be cracked. Make sure your password has a mix of uppercase letters, lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters that is difficult to guess.
- Avoid using Public Wi-Fi – Public Wi-Fi can be an easy way to steal data. Avoid using Public Wi-Fi or use a Virtual Private Network to secure your connection.
- Monitor Your Accounts – Keep tabs on your electronic health records and ensure that you report any suspicious activity to your healthcare provider.
- Secure Your Devices – Secure all your devices that have access to your health information with a robust password, especially your smartphones and laptops.
The Legal Implications of Data Breaches
When there is a health data breach and a patient’s personal information is accessed or stolen, the financial and legal implications can be catastrophic. It can lead to devastating outcomes for individuals, including loss of personal information, identity theft, and financial fraud. Moreover, not only do they deal with the immediate aftermath of the breach, but they also have to worry about future risk and anxiety due to the theft of their information.
Additionally, healthcare providers can face legal consequences when personal information is accessed or stolen. If a patient suffers harm due to a breach of their privacy, they have the right to sue healthcare providers for damages under state privacy laws and the common law.
In conclusion, electronic health records can be quite beneficial for patients and healthcare providers alike, but they also come with significant risks. Protecting your electronic health records should be a top priority to safeguard your privacy. Taking effective measures to secure your health information is essential, and legal consequences can be devastating for healthcare providers who fail to protect their patients’ privacy. By following the tips outlined above, you can ensure that your health information stays secure, and you can have peace of mind while seeking healthcare.