The Devastating Effects of Social Media in Healthcare

The Devastating Effects of Social Media in Healthcare

HIPAA Social Media Do’s and Don’ts in Healthcare

There are many benefits to social media in the healthcare industry, however, there is also huge potential for HIPAA violations of patient privacy to be violated on social media networks.  The Privacy Rule protects All “individually identifiable health information” held or transmitted by a covered entity or its business associate, in any form or media, whether electronic, paper or oral. The Privacy Rule calls this information “protected health information (PHI).”

Did you know that more than 71% of recorded data breaches in the healthcare industry are attributable to employee actions?

The most important rule is to never share Protected Health Information or Personally Identifiable Information on social media. Social media may include personal blogs and other websites, including Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, or others of the like.

A few common identifiers include but are not limited to:

    • demographic data
    • medical histories
    • test results
    • insurance information
    • and other information used to identify a patient or provide healthcare services or healthcare coverage.

What is a breach and what can I do to avoid it?

 A breach is, generally, an impermissible use or disclosure under the Privacy Rule that compromises the security or privacy of the protected health information. This means employees should refrain from posting, commenting, or sharing patient information on social media including patient names, photos, and descriptors that would identify the patient.

What is considered identifiable information?

The most common social media HIPAA violations include:

    • Posting of images and videos of patients without written consent
    • Posting of gossip about patients
    • Posting of any information that could allow an individual to be identified
    • Sharing of photographs or images taken inside a healthcare facility in which patients or PHI are visible
    • Sharing of photos, videos, or text on social media platforms within a private group

“Friending” patients on social media websites is also strongly discouraged. This can lead to accidental identifying of patients, especially if your place of work is listed in your profile and accidental ‘discussion’ about the patient’s care. Therefore, employees in inpatient care roles generally should not initiate or accept friend requests. Do not enter into social media discussions with patients who have disclosed PHI on social media.

Employees should also refrain from messaging or texting PHI or PII on social media or messaging applications not approved by your organization. In general, no personally identifiable health information should be sent in any manner which does not ensure communication encryption in transit and at rest.

So, what do you do if you think you may have exposed a patient’s protected health information or personally identifiable information?

In general, it’s advised to, follow your organization’s Incident Response Policy immediately and notify your supervisor and/or designated HIPAA Security Officer for immediate next steps.

At Live Compliance, we make checking off your compliance requirements extremely simple.

    • Reliable and Effective Compliance
    • Completely online, our role-based courses make training easy for remote or in-office employees.
    • Contact-free, accurate Security Risk Assessments are conducted remotely. All devices are thoroughly analyzed regardless of location. Conducting an accurate and thorough Security Risk Assessment is not only required but is a useful tool to expose potential vulnerabilities.
    • Policies and Procedures are curated to fit your organization ensuring employees are updated on all Workstation Use and Security Safeguards in the office, or out. Update in real-time.
    • Electronic, prepared document sending and signing to employees and business associates.

Don’t risk your company’s future, especially when we are offering a free Organization Assessment to help determine your company’s status. Call us at (980) 999-1585, or email me, Jim Johnson at Jim@LiveCompliance.com or visit www.LiveCompliance.com

For more information about DarkWeb breaches please contact us at (980) 999-1585 or email us at support@livecompliance.com


ABOUT EZCLAIM:
As a medical billing expert, EZClaim can help the medical practice improve its revenues since it is a medical billing and scheduling software company. EZClaim provides a best-in-class product, with correspondingly exceptional service and support. Combined, EZClaim helps improve medical billing revenues. To learn more, visit EZClaim’s website, email them, or call them today at 877.650.0904.

How to Spot, Avoid and Report Malware

How to Spot, Avoid and Report Malware

Whether you’re a one-person billing company or a multi-location organization, it’s possible that you’ve seen or heard of Malware and the potential risks associated with it and how it can cause major downtime and potential HIPAA violations due to breached information.

Criminals use malware to steal personal information, send spam, and commit fraud. Malware includes viruses, spyware, and other unwanted software that gets installed on your computer or mobile device without your consent. These programs can cause your device to crash and can be used to monitor and control your online activity. They also can make your computer vulnerable to viruses and deliver unwanted or inappropriate ads.

Here are a few, high-level quick steps you can take to spot and avoid Malware.

First, let’s talk security software.

Install and update security software, and use a firewall. Set your security software, internet browser, and operating system (like Windows or Mac OS X) to update automatically, and don’t forget to Back up your data regularly. Strong security software can prevent a hack or scam before it happens. You should install well-known software directly from the source. Sites that offer lots of different browsers, PDF readers, and other popular software for free are more likely to include malware. Read each screen when installing new software. If you don’t recognize a program or are prompted to install additional “bundled” software, decline the additional program or exit the installation process.

Don’t change your browser’s security settings and pay attention to your browser’s security warnings. Many browsers come with built-in security scanners that warn you before you visit an infected webpage or download a malicious file.

Next, watch what you’re clicking on.

Instead of clicking on a link in an email, type the URL of a trusted site directly into your browser. Scammers send emails that appear to be from companies you know and trust. The links may look legitimate, but clicking on them could download malware or send you to a scam site. Don’t open attachments in emails unless you know who sent it and what it is. Opening the wrong attachment — even if it seems to be from friends or family — can install malware on your computer.

Avoid clicking on pop-ups or banner ads about your computer’s performance! Scammers insert unwanted software into banner ads that look legitimate, especially ads about your computer’s health. Avoid clicking on these ads if you don’t know the source.

Your computer may be infected with malware if it:

    • slows down, crashes or displays repeated error messages
    • won’t shut down or restart
    • serves a multitude of pop-ups
    • serves inappropriate ads or ads that interfere with page content
    • won’t let you remove unwanted software
    • injects ads in places you typically wouldn’t see them, such as government websites
    • displays web pages you didn’t intend to visit, or sends emails you didn’t write

Other warning signs of malware include:

    • new and unexpected toolbars or icons in your browser or on your desktop
    • unexpected changes in your browser, like using a new default search engine or displaying new tabs you didn’t open
    • a sudden or repeated change in your computer’s internet home page
    • a laptop battery that drains quicker than it should

At Live Compliance, we make checking off your compliance requirements extremely simple.

  • Reliable and Effective Compliance
  • Completely online, our role-based courses make training easy for remote or in-office employees.
  • Contact-free, accurate Security Risk Assessments are conducted remotely. All devices are thoroughly analyzed regardless of location. Conducting an accurate and thorough Security Risk Assessment is not only required but is a useful tool to expose potential vulnerabilities, including those such as Password Protection.
  • Policies and Procedures curated to fit your organization ensuring employees are updated on all Workstation Use and Security Safeguards in the office, or out. Update in real-time.
  • Electronic, prepared document sending and signing to employees and business associates.

Don’t risk your company’s future, especially when we are offering a free Organization Assessment to help determine your company’s status. Call us at (980) 999-1585, or email me, Jim Johnson at Jim@LiveCompliance.com or visit www.LiveCompliance.com

For more information about DarkWeb breaches please contact us at (980) 999-1585 or email us at support@livecompliance.com

 

HIPAA Items To Focus On NOW!

HIPAA Items To Focus On NOW!

There are a few HIPAA items to focus on RIGHT NOWbefore the end of 2020!

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has designated the “Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act” (HIPAA) as the national standard for protecting the privacy and security of health information (in 1996). This led to the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH), which has a provision in it for audits, and the HHS Office for Civil Rights is responsible for carrying out HIPAA audits, and responding to complaints and breaches. Ignoring them is not an option!

A Risk Assessment IS NOT Enough
A risk assessment is only one element of the compliance process. You must also “implement security updates as necessary and correct identified security deficiencies.” In other words, you must act via a Corrective Action Plan (CAP) and follow the required risk assessment process.

Dark Web
It is no secret that the “Dark Web” is a scary place to lose your information. So, what if it did happen and affected your entire company? Identity thieves get anywhere from $1-$1,000 for medical records, for each instance! So, how can you protect yourself and/or your organization?

Well, data breaches are becoming more common—sometimes which are out of your control—so carefully monitoring where you store and enter your passwords can be extremely beneficial to help minimize the risk of a hack and keeping personal or patient information protected.

One solution for this is the automatic Dark Web monitoring built into the portal of one of EZClaim’s partners, Live Compliance. Their solution helps keep an ‘eye’ on employees whose information was involved in a breach, and suggests next steps to take where the breach was found. Then, it allows your to conduct an accurate and thorough Security Risk Assessment. This is not only required, but is a useful tool to expose potential vulnerabilities, including those that involve password protection.

So, what can I do to ensure this doesn’t happen to me or my organization? Well, Live Compliance makes checking off your compliance requirements extremely simple by providing:

● Reliable and effective compliance
● Completely online, our role-based courses make training easy for remote or in-office employees
● Contact-free, accurate Security Risk Assessments are conducted remotely. All devices are thoroughly analyzed regardless of location.
● Policies and procedures are curated to fit your organization, ensuring employees are updated on all workstation use and security safeguards in the office, or out. It is updated in real time.
● An electronic document is sent to employees and business associates

So, don’t risk your company’s future, especially when Live Compliance offers a FREE Organization Assessment to help determine your company’s status.

For additional details, call them at 980.999.1585, e-mail them, or visit their website at LiveCompliance.com

[ Article provided by Jim Johnson of Live Compliance ].


ABOUT EZCLAIM:
EZClaim is a medical billing and scheduling software company that provides a best-in-class product, with correspondingly exceptional service and support. Combined, they help improve medical billing revenues. To learn more, visit EZClaim’s website, e-mail them, or call a representative today at 877.650.0904.

New HIPAA Compliance Requirements Coming!

New HIPAA Compliance Requirements Coming!

New HIPAA compliance requirements are coming!

In an effort to make the HIPAA Privacy Rule as easy to understand as possible, the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) has come up with a list of rules that clearly explain what Business Associates are now “directly liable” for. As OCR Director Roger Severino explains, “We want to make it as easy as possible for regulated entities to understand, and comply with, their obligations under the law.”  The list consists of ten rules that, if failed to follow, can result in penalties and monetary fines.
[ Note: Check out our previous post to access this list ].

 

Immediate Requirements:
As we enter the fourth quarter of the year, you may be wondering what immediate requirements should a Business Associate complete before the end of the year?

One of the most important rules also includes information about Business Associates, and their need for proof of satisfactory assurance when the covered entity requests this of them. Satisfactory assurance is crucial, because it ensures the Business Associate is HIPAA compliant, and therefore, must also be in the form of a contract.

The Satisfactory Assurance contract is oftentimes outlined in the form of a questionnaire, and requires the Business Associate to disclose the date of completion for various compliance requirements.

These include distribution and completion of workforce HIPAA training, implementation and distribution of policies and procedures, Business Associate documentation, and completion of an annual HIPAA Security Risk Assessment.

 

Are You Prepared?:
If a Covered Entity requests this proof from your organization, would you be able to successfully complete it without outdated completion?

If you are uncertain that your organization would be able to easily and efficiently provide that documentation, you may be facing thousands of dollars in fines for each vulnerability!

 

HIPAA Compliance Myths: 

False: The security risk analysis is optional for small providers: All providers who are “Covered Entities” under HIPAA are required to perform a risk analysis. In addition, all providers who want to receive MU, and MIPS incentive payments must conduct a risk analysis.

False: Our office uses the Cloud, so we don’t need a risk assessment: Even if you have a fully HIPAA compliant cloud vendor, your patient data (ePHI and PII) still must go through all your systems to get to the cloud. So, you are still required to perform technical, administrative, and physical security risk analyses.

False: Our EHR makes us compliant, so we’re fine: While your EHR may provide excellent privacy and security features, it definitely doesn’t exempt you from the HIPAA security requirements.

 

Live Compliance helps their clients meet the ever changing and complex HIPAA State and Federal regulations. They protect the information they are entrusted with, and ensure their clients pass any Health and Human Services audits. If you are unsure or need assistance, call Jim Johnson with Live Compliance at (980) 999-1585.

Live Compliance is a partner of EZClaim, a medical billing software company. For more details about their solutions, visit their website at ezclaim.com.

Failing to Implement HIPAA Causes Large Fine

Failing to Implement HIPAA Causes Large Fine

Failing to implement HIPAA causes a large fine for a small-town North Carolina health services provider. They were fined $25,000 for multiple, easily avoidable, HIPAA violations for “longstanding, systemic non-compliance” with the HIPAA Security Rule. [ Note: The provider is a part of a health center that offers discounted medical services to the underserved population in rural NC, and the fines were reduced in consideration of this, but it still resulted in a significant monetary loss ].

In 2011, Metropolitan Community Health Services (Metro), doing business as Agape Health Services, filed a breach report regarding “the impermissible disclosure of protected health information to an unknown email account.” The breach affected over 1,200 patients!

In addition to the large monetary penalty, the practice is required to develop and adopt a corrective action plan (which includes two years of thorough monitoring) after the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) discovered that Metro failed to conduct a thorough and comprehensive HIPAA Security Risk Assessment and Analysis. In addition, Metro did not implement a single HIPAA Security Rule Policy and Procedure for the health center. Possibly worst of all, Metro failed to provide workforce members with HIPAA Privacy and Security Awareness training until 2016!

Patients must trust with who they share their personal, private, and protected health information. A breach such as this is obviously devastating for the patient, in addition to their doctor’s reputation. So, how can physicians ensure that they are meeting the HIPAA requirements and have proper safeguards in place to avoid this sort of breach?

First off, an accurate and thorough Security Risk Assessment and Analysis must be conducted to expose and target any potential administrative, physical, and technical vulnerabilities. Doing so highlights any major flaws in a practice’s administrative and technical safeguards, and accentuates the policies and procedures that the practice needs to implement.

In addition to that, the designated HIPAA Privacy and Security Officer must ensure that ALL employees complete HIPAA Workforce training. All employees of the practice, including the physicians, must take HIPAA training to ensure employees have a clear understanding of the HIPAA Privacy Rule and actionable policies and procedures.

So, remember, healthcare organizations and their vendors have a responsibility to be HIPAA compliant, and that starts by performing, updating, or reviewing an accurate and thorough Security Risk Assessment covering your technical, administrative, and physical safeguards. This will help uncover any vulnerabilities, and help you understand what information is being transmitted, shared, and how it is being transmitted.

 

TAKEAWAYS AND THINGS TO CONSIDER:

  • Complete a Security Risk Assessment and establish a Corrective Action Plan that is accurate and thorough.
 Remediate any potential risks or vulnerabilities.
  • A Security Risk Assessment will target vulnerabilities related to what is potentially exposing Protected Health Information (PHI)
  • Develop actionable policies and procedures that clearly outline disclosures of PHI
  • Ensure all employees have a clear understanding of the HIPAA Privacy rule and its policies and procedures

 

Live Compliance provides everything you need to become and maintain your organization’s HIPAA compliance requirements. All policies and procedures can be edited and shared directly with staff from your staff portal. Training are delivered and monitored within your portal, can be customized, role-based, and be accessed anytime and from anywhere. You can also easily send and monitor HIPAA training with one click.

Failing to implement HIPAA can cause tremendous problems and use precious resources and time to implement. Live Compliance makes it 10X easier than trying to do it on your own.

So, take advantage of Live Compliance’s FREE Organization Needs Assessment to understand your immediate compliance needs. For additional details, e-mail Jim Johnson (at jim@livecompliance.com), call (980) 999-1585, or visit their website at livecompliance.com/oa

Live Compliance is a partner of EZClaim, a medical billing software company. For more details about their solutions, visit their website at ezclaim.com.

[ Written by Jim Johnson, President of Live Compliance ]