Is the Patient Data at Your Healthcare Practice Backed-Up?

Exploring why your healthcare practice should be prioritizing backups and business continuity

Healthcare practices across the country are busier than ever before. Technology of all kinds is helping healthcare practitioners see more patients and treat them more effectively. However, this technological advancement comes increased risk. With more and more patient data being stored digitally or virtually in the Cloud, concerns about confidentiality and data protection must be at the forefront for healthcare practices of all kinds.

It doesn’t matter whether clinics are collecting health history details, insurance, and financial information, or pharmaceutical records. Healthcare practices looking to secure patient data must have proactive tools for data backup, disaster recovery, and business continuity in place. Without them, they risk their patient’s privacy and their own ability to continue treating patients. Not to mention huge regulatory sanctions and potential financial penalties.

How Your Healthcare IT Consulting Team Helps

We’ve decided to put together a brief guide to help healthcare professionals looking for a healthcare managed IT provider and/or healthcare IT consulting. We’ve laid out the basics when it comes to backup solutions for healthcare practices and has added some key strategy information to help your clinic develop a proactive approach to data security and continuity.

On Guard: Why Your Healthcare Practice Should be Worried About Data Security & Continuity

The fact of the matter is, the entire world is becoming more virtually connected. This is great, and as mentioned, has brought massive productivity benefits to the healthcare sector. However, the reality is that healthcare practices are not immune to the risk of cyber attack and disaster. As such, making proactive considerations about information security and clinical continuity is essential.

In fact, the Poneman Institute reported that 91% of healthcare organizations have experienced at least one data breach. The report goes on to note that in 2014, the healthcare sector experienced 125% more criminal attacks on their data than in previous years. Even worse? Those healthcare practices that were affected, suffered average financial losses upwards of $2 million per company.

These are some of the top ways your practice’s data could be at risk:

  • Email phishing scams
  • Ransomware infections
  • Malware infections
  • Hardware or software crashes
  • Unexpected power outages & natural disasters
  • Basic human error

Staying Protected: Backups & Business Continuity Strategies for Healthcare Practices

Most modern healthcare practices have some sort of data security precautions and backups in place. However, we must remind you that the bare minimum is often not enough. Backup solutions must be implemented thoughtfully and carefully. Additionally, proactive business continuity planning is an essential IT service for healthcare practitioners. Check out our list of reminders below about backup solutions and business continuity planning.

Backup Solutions for Healthcare Practices

  • Data should be backed up as often as possible. Take advantage of automatic backup technology or create a backup schedule and process for employees to reference.
  • Your backups should be redundant – meaning you should have data backed up to multiple secure and compliant locations. Ideally, one backup location should be in the Cloud or offsite.
  • Your backups should never be simply implemented and trusted. Test your backup solutions after they’ve been implemented to be sure they’re working as they should.
  • Keep testing them regularly. Develop a backup testing schedule to ensure it doesn’t slip your mind.
  • Understand how to restore your data from backups. Without understanding how to validate and restore your data, you could face an uphill battle when trying to rebound from the disaster.
  • Be sure to backup raw patient data and application data. This will make a huge difference in your restoration timeline, should you face the worst-case scenario.

Business Continuity Planning for Healthcare Practices

  • Get a disaster recovery plan on paper and discuss it with your team. Make sure everyone knows the basic steps to follow in case of a data breach or disaster. Having a proactive plan, on paper, will help you respond more effectively when you need to.
  • Be sure to take a ‘tech inventory’ to make sure that your disaster recovery and continuity plans include all endpoints.
  • Make sure your disaster recovery and business continuity plan follows industry and governmental regulatory standards.
  • Your business continuity strategy should cover all your data stores, whether they’re onsite, offsite, or in the Cloud.
  • Develop a disaster recovery plan that prioritizes patient confidentiality and streamlines operational efficiency. Have a plan for restoring your data securely that covers your operational infrastructure from top to bottom.
  • Be sure to continually update your backup, disaster recovery, and business continuity plans as your clinic changes or grows.

Reaching Out for Consultation: Professional IT Services for Healthcare Practices

Now that we’ve outlined the potential dangers your clinic could be facing and listed some strategies to ensure you stay secure, you may still be looking for some guidance or support. We get it, you’re busy handling the care of human lives – you just need to be sure that your patient data is being stored and transmitted securely.

That’s why you should never hesitate to reach out to IT service providers who specialize in healthcare. Professional healthcare IT consultants have endless experience developing industry-specific backup, disaster recovery, and business continuity solutions. Reaching out to a team of experts will offer the peace-of-mind you crave, so you can stay focused on treating patients.

Business continuity is all about a complete and total backup and disaster recovery solution. Why not have a complete and total support experience too? If you’re a healthcare practitioner looking for data backup solutions, reach out to a team of healthcare IT professionals for one-on-one consultation and strategic implementation.

Did you find this article informative? As always, we’re happy to help! If you liked this, check out these other articles we think you’ll love: