If you are a healthcare provider, or do business with healthcare providers, you are probably familiar with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, or HIPPA, which was designed to ensure the security of patients’ private health information. With the rise of the implementation of Electronic Health Records (EHRs) and other healthcare information technology (HIT) by physicians, hospitals, and other healthcare providers, privacy and compliance concerns are greater now than ever. As reported in Businessweek, healthcare providers, insurance companies and related business partners reported 373 business security system breaches affecting almost 18 million patients between September 2009 to October of this year, according to Department of Health and Human Services.
Various technologies are used by providers of HIT and EHRs to ensure that a patient’s data remains secure. But even the best encryption protocols can’t always prevent a security breach because of something like the theft of laptop, or an “inside job” by an unscrupulous employee. That’s why healthcare providers are encouraged to consider taking serious physical security measures, such as access monitoring, burglar alarms, and video surveillance – as part of their overall security systems.
Of course, it’s not only patient information that makes healthcare providers criminal targets. Medical facilities are known to have high value assets on their premises, such as medical equipment, not to mention drugs. It’s also not uncommon for healthcare workers in emergency rooms, mental health clinics, and certain other kinds of facilities to be subject to violent outbursts or attacks by violent or emotionally disturbed patients.
According to crime researchers, hospital emergency rooms traditionally have been the most likely areas to have security risks. However, the increased problems of drug dependence, mental health issues, and homelessness, combined with other social problems caused by the economic downturn of the past several years have contributed to increased security threats for all areas of health care facilities.
Fortunately there are business security system companies that specialize in the unique compliance and security needs of healthcare and medical facilities. These companies understand the challenges of both data and physical security faced by the healthcare industry, and they know how to help medical facilities integrate safety and security measures into their day-to-day operations. They do this not only with the latest in state-of-the-art security systems and access control measures, but also by training all personnel how to minimize risk, and help create a secure and compliant environment for workers and patients.