Is the health pandemic leading to a PHI pandemic?

Many recent breaches and security issues have been linked to the COVID-19 pandemic, as a great deal of health information is being transmitted using processes that were hastily put in place.

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Given the rise in information breaches, physician practices should be on high alert.

Patient data is always a large target, but with the increase in health information, breaches are occurring more frequently.

A greater number of employers and colleges are also handling more patient information due to the pandemic and vaccinations.

Recently, California State University, Chico just saw a breach of all students requesting exemptions to vaccine mandates. Personal information about all students was posted online, including names and phone numbers and detailed explanations for exemption requests.

Employers handing patient data and physician offices who routinely handle patient data need to protect all data against the rampant breaches.

Make sure you are following all required safeguards. Failure to protect data leads to a lack of trust on the part of patients and employees.

Encrypting patient data and training staff is essential in maintaining data security.

Staff need to be trained regularly in how to handle protected health information (PHI) and how to report any suspicions they may have regarding potential breaches.

Hire a healthcare attorney to help with your risk assessment and audits to ensure that you are addressing all vulnerabilities.

Finally, if you do experience a breach, make sure to comply with all timelines. We help our practices and entities protect their data before a breach can occur. We also help clients respond effectively following any suspected breach.

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