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HIPAA Weekly Security Tips Archive

HIPAA Security Reminder of the Week

Phishing Emails and Links Please be on the lookout for phishing emails or pages with links that try to convince you to click on a link or divulge any personal information. Phishing emails look like emails from a legitimate source but the content requests information that the actual company would not request. Malware filters may […]

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HIPAA Security Reminder of the Week

Social Network Security Reminder Workforce members are not allowed to access social networking sites company-owned equipment. Yet, you might access these sites from your personal computing devices. If so, here are some security tips: Don’t click links if you’re unsure of the destination. Check the domain to make sure it’s the real deal. You don’t […]

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HIPAA Security Reminder of the Week

Keep Physical Assets Secure Assets like files, computing equipment, and information must be secure. The EHR system must be safe from unauthorized access. The single most common way that PHI is compromised is through the loss of devices themselves, either through theft or accidentally. Incidents reported to the HHS Office for Civil Rights show that […]

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HIPAA Security Reminder of the Week

Security Reminders HIPAA 164.308(a)(4) Security Reminders Questions an Auditor may ask you (from NIST 800-66): What methods are available or already in use to make or keep employees aware of security, e.g., posters or booklets? Is security refresher training performed on a periodic basis (e.g., annually)? Is security awareness discussed with all new hires? Are security topics reinforced […]

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HIPAA Security Reminder of the Week

Mobile Phone Use If you are authorized to use your cell phone/smartphone for business, remember: Password-protect your device. Cell phone conversations should not occur in any area where patients or visitors are present. Cell phones should be turned off or set to silent or vibrate mode during meetings, conferences and in other locations where incoming […]

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HIPAA Security Reminder of the Week

Electronic Media Disposal We all need to ensure that we are careful when transporting or disposing of any type of electronic device. Consider what information might be stored on that media. Know your company’s policy for electronic media disposal.  For example: all workforce members should direct the disposal of all electronic waste to IT or […]

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HIPAA Security Reminder of the Week

Do Not Install Unauthorized Programs Malicious applications often pose as legitimate programs. They aim to fool you into installing the program which then infects your computer. And if your computer is infected, that infection could spread throughout the network. Do not install programs unless they are authorized by Information Security. Authorized installs will be pushed […]

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HIPAA Security Reminder of the Week

Shred Paper PHI Shred copies of sensitive information when disposing – do not simply toss them in the trash. Cross-cut shredders are very useful in making printed sensitive information both unreadable and unusable. Or place in locked shredder bins which may be located throughout your facility. Remember to shred any printouts containing any information that […]

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HIPAA Security Reminder of the Week

Use Email Encryption Encryption is a procedure that scrambles information in a way that is decipherable only to authorized individuals or computers. Encryption should be used whenever sensitive data is at rest or in transition – email, electronic file transfers, laptops, USB drives, CDs, etc. Encryption is used when visiting certain websites that require you […]

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HIPAA Security Reminder of the Week

Computer Security Log out of and lock your computer when stepping away, even for a moment. For a quick way to lock your PC, press Windows Key + L. Forgetting to log out poses a security risk with any computer that is accessible to other people because it leaves your account open to abuse. Disable […]

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HIPAA Security Reminder of the Week

Identify the Risk Groups and Safeguard PHI Sensitive information, such as PHI and PII, is a critical asset within a health care organization. Identifying the risk groups helps clarify operational context and reveals potential vulnerabilities across the IT infrastructure. By doing this, we establish clear priorities for making security investments so that the most critical […]

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HIPAA Security Reminder of the Week

HIPAA Alphabet Soup The Acts that made all this privacy and security possible: HIPAA: Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act HITECH Act: Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act ARRA Act: American Recovery and Reinvestment Act Key acronyms: BA: Business Associate CE: Covered Entity EHR: Electronic Health Record, also sometimes referred to as […]

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HIPAA Security Reminder of the Week

Unique User Identification – Logon ID The HIPAA Security Rule requires Covered Entities and Business Associates to implement a “Unique User Identification” for systems holding Electronic Protected Health Information (ePHI). It is a “required” implementation specification under the Access Control Standard and should be employed for all information assets that create, receive, transmit and maintain […]

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HIPAA Security Reminder of the Week

Potential HIPAA Security Violations When an unencrypted device containing ePHI is stolen or missing, this could result in a HIPAA security violation. For example: A thumb drive containing the Electronic Protected Health Information (ePHI) of approximately 2,200 individuals was stolen from a vehicle. The entity needed to conduct an accurate and thorough analysis of the […]

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HIPAA Security Reminder of the Week

Working Off-Site When working off-site, remember: Do not take confidential information off-site unless: You have official authorization from your department or division manager and department policy or practice permits the information to be taken off-site. The information must be taken off-site to fulfill your job duties (for example: home visits to a patient). For hard […]

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HIPAA Security Reminder of the Week

Prevent a Breach of PHI Fax: If you manually enter the fax number, double-check all fax numbers before sending the fax. When discharging a patient, double-check the patient’s identifying information on the discharge instructions and any related prescriptions. Make sure all information matches the patient’s records. Do not leave paper PHI unattended. Logoff any EHR […]

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HIPAA Security Reminder of the Week

Avoid Peer-to-Peer File Sharing Millions of people use free Peer-to-Peer (P2P) file sharing programs / software to swap files over the Internet. P2P can make files on your computer available to potentially millions of users. Sharing copyrighted material over a P2P network may result in legal action against both the user and your company. P2P […]

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HIPAA Security Reminder of the Week

Your Online Presence Your online presence is all encompassing. The message you send via email or photos needs to be consistent. For a better idea of where this consistency comes in, consider these: Your photo – provide a professional photo for your website and ID badge Emails – make sure you spell-check and grammar-check before […]

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HIPAA Security Reminder of the Week

Tailgating/Access Card Usage Tailgating is one of the most common physical security breaches. It starts out innocently – an employee opens a door and holds it open for other employees, visitors without badges, or the passive acceptance of a uniformed worker. The problem with these lax situations is that they open your facility to undocumented […]

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HIPAA Security Reminder of the Week

Where do we place servers that store ePHI? When determining the location of servers with PHI or PII, consider these two main factors: physical and environmental protection. Physical protection should be focused on preventing unauthorized individuals from accessing the server (e.g. storing the server in locked room accessible only to staff). Environmental protection should focus on protecting […]

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HIPAA Security Reminder of the Week

Breach of PHI Assessment 4-Factor Requirement Do you think there’s been a breach of PHI?   Follow these guidelines to determine if PHI has been compromised: Look at the nature and extent of the PHI involved, including the types of identifiers and the likelihood of re-identification. Find out who accessed the PHI. Was the person […]

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HIPAA Security Reminder of the Week

Sanction Policy Both the HIPAA Security Rule and the HIPAA Privacy Rule require Covered Entities and Business Associates to document the disciplinary policy and apply sanctions against members of the workforce who violate the respective regulations.   Sanctions may be applied if you: Access PHI that is not necessary for your job – this includes activities like […]

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HIPAA Security Reminder of the Week

HHS Guidance on Sharing Mental Health Information of a patient The HHS Office for Civil Rights published guidance that addresses some of the more frequently asked questions about when it is appropriate under the HIPAA Privacy Rule for a health care provider to share the protected health information of a patient who is being treated […]

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HIPAA Security Reminder of the Week

Protect Yourself from Data Security Breaches By monitoring your accounts regularly, you can respond quickly if hackers attempt to use your information.   Security Tips: Pay attention to “last logged in” info. Sign up for electronic alerts. Consider a credit monitoring service. Freeze your credit. Change your passwords regularly. Think twice before giving out personal […]

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HIPAA Security Reminder of the Week

Secure Paper Protected Health Information (PHI) too! Sensitive information on paper is the same as sensitive information on a computer. Both need to be protected from unauthorized access and should be treated with caution and discretion. In particular, protected health information (PHI) in all forms (e.g., verbal, fax, paper, electronic) is covered by the HIPAA […]

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HIPAA Security Reminder of the Week

Information Security Reminder Spring is upon us. And while most of us look forward to enjoying the time, scammers and hackers are hard at work trying to foil that enjoyment. Here are a few reminders to help you foil the attackers: • Ensure that your home computer systems are protected with the most current antivirus/anti-malware products. […]

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HIPAA Security Reminder of the Week

Information Systems are a Privilege Your access to information “assets” such as hardware, software, storage media, etc. is a privilege. Use of company-owned software and hardware is for legitimate, job-related activity only. Protect this privilege! Guard your authentication credentials – username, password, ID badge, key fob, etc. Do not share your credentials with any other workforce […]

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HIPAA Security Reminder of the Week

Clean Desk Policy Keep the minimum amount of paper PHI on your desk – only the documents you are working on at the moment. Why? A clean desk produces a positive image – you are organized and respect patients’ privacy. Sensitive documents left in the open can be stolen by a malicious entity. Remember to: […]

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HIPAA Security Reminder of the Week

Protecting a Patient’s Privacy Well-known individuals or celebrities have the same rights to privacy as anyone else. Privacy violations involving celebrities are further complicated due to the higher exposure that may follow these types of patients. Remember: Do not access a patient record unless it is necessary in order to perform your job. Do not […]

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HIPAA Security Reminder of the Week

Social Networking Safety Social engineering is quickly becoming the most common way the “bad guys” are breaking into systems. Our systems are good at keeping the bad guys out. But it’s much harder to keep them out once you’ve let them in by visiting infected websites, clicking on links or attachments in emails, or responding […]

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HIPAA Security Reminder of the Week

Secure PHI in Patient or Customer Care Areas Do not discuss PHI or customer details in common places such as cafeterias, elevators, parking lots, or outside the facility. Do not leave hard copy files unattended, for example on top of the desk. Review your company Clean Desk Policy. If you must work with hard copy […]

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HIPAA Security Reminder of the Week

Check Devices to Ensure They Are in Compliance All desktops, laptops and other mobile computing devices must encrypted. This is to ensure that all devices that access ePHI will be compliance with the HIPAA Security Rule. Verify that your device has been been encrypted. If you are unsure, contact your IT Help Desk @ 610-640-4223 […]

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HIPAA Security Reminder of the Week

Treat Paper Records & Electronic Data Equally Sensitive information on paper is the same as sensitive information on a computer. Both need to be protected from unauthorized access and should be treated with caution and discretion. In particular, Protected Health Information (PHI) in all forms (e.g. verbal, fax, paper, electronic) is covered by the HIPAA […]

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HIPAA Security Reminder of the Week

Logon ID Sharing user IDs and passwords is not advisable and may be a non-compliance with your company policy or local legislation. If you shared this information and someone used it to access ePHI, you will be held responsible for the actions that person took using your credentials. Do not to share network logon ID […]

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HIPAA Security Reminder of the Week

What is PHI? PHI is individually identifiable health information which is created or received by a health care provider, health plan, or health care clearinghouse. Such information relates to the past, present or future physical health, mental health or condition of an individual AND can be directly tied to an individual. PHI either identifies or […]

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