Leverage Identity and Access Management to Protect Critical Health Information 

 

Healthcare organizations today face extraordinary challenges in a complex landscape. With intensifying regulations, the acceleration of technology, and the pressure to increase operational efficiencies and decrease costs, health systems must address these issues head on, while staying focused on delivering quality patient care.

Healthcare information security remains a top priority as health systems have adopted modern approaches to storing and securing electronic health information. One of the most effective ways to secure sensitive patient information is through healthcare identity and access management (IAM).

Healthcare IAM enables organizations to protect access to electronic medical records (EMR) and establish strong identity governance and access management programs that keep patient and healthcare information safe. 

Simply, IAM for healthcare enables healthcare organizations to securely manage who has access to what systems and when.

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Why is Healthcare IAM Critical to Protecting Patient Data?

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There is too much at stake for health systems today to ignore the importance of implementing strategic healthcare IAM. Healthcare records are extremely valuable because they contain highly sensitive data, including social security numbers, bank information, and personal health information (PHI).

The High Cost of Healthcare Data Breaches

Data breaches in healthcare cost more than $7.13 million on average—higher than any other industry, according to the Cost of a Data Breach Report by the Ponemon Institute. So the pressure to protect personal health information has never been greater. Healthcare identity and access management enables organizations to manage who has access to electronic medical records and to protect valuable patient data.

Financial Information a Prime Target

A study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine found that 70 percent of breaches targeted demographic or financial information rather than medical information only. With the rise of digital and electronic health records, healthcare organizations must continue to evolve their thinking and pursue IAM healthcare strategies and programs that protect sensitive information across their environments

How Can Healthcare IAM Ensure HIPAA Compliance?

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With pressure to ensure that sensitive health information is protected, healthcare organizations are required to comply with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), and regularly prepare for audits.

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The Origins of HIPAA

HIPAA was initially passed in 1996 to enhance and improve the portability of health coverage and insurance for individuals in between jobs. Since its introduction, HIPAA has added new legislation and standards that seek to expand protections for personal health information, including guidance on how PHI should be disclosed and how electronic personal health information (ePHI) should be stored and managed.

How Can Healthcare IAM Protect EMR Systems?

It’s not just HIPAA compliance that has increased pressure on healthcare systems. When the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act was enacted, it mandated  ‘the meaningful use of electronic health records throughout the United States healthcare delivery system as a critical national goal,’ according to the CDC.

With monetary incentives to adopt EHRs and invest in EMR systems, including the Epic EMR and MEDITECH EMR, healthcare organizations have spent the last 10 years capturing patient data electronically, providing patients with electronic health information, increasing health information exchange between providers, and reporting on their participation.

Healthcare identity and access management enables the effective rollout, management, and expansion of EMR systems by providing seamless, secure user and patient access to relevant applications and data. Role-based access control (RBAC) in healthcare helps securely manage access by assigning and restricting access to EMR systems based on clearly established roles.

Using roles, healthcare organizations can have solid, pre-defined, and pre-approved access policies in place to identify which access privilege each user needs and which access to grant or remove.

 

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In most cases, RBAC is used in conjunction with the principle of least privilege, where the roles defined will only include the least level of access needed to complete the necessary job tasks or requirements. When healthcare organizations leverage effective IAM strategies to practice the policy of least privilege access, they can better ensure that only those users who need access to patient data have it when they need it and can mitigate identity-related access risks across EMR systems.

Why Are Healthcare IAM Solutions Important?

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Hospitals and medical facilities turn to healthcare identity and access management solutions to limit exposure of patient health records, personal health information, financial data, and health system information. Healthcare IAM also enables organizations to demonstrate their compliance with industry mandates and more easily respond to audit demands.

Continuous change within the sector means that organizations need healthcare identity and access management solutions that empower them to constantly manage external pressures. This means being able to more intelligently manage access-related activity for mergers and acquisitions, health system reorganizations, students, residents, and seasonal staffing changes, ongoing employee changes or transfers, and overseeing provisioning for the contingent workforce. Healthcare IAM programs also enable organizations to manage costs and drive value-based care, while improving IT service delivery.

 
Read Five Major Reasons Healthcare Organizations Need Identity Governance >           

 

Healthcare IAM Solutions from Core Security

Cleaning Up the Healthcare Access Environment and Harnessing Access Risk Intelligence

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Visualizing Relationships Between Users and Access within the Complex Healthcare Structure

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Automating Account Provisioning and User Lifecycle Management for Healthcare Technology Systems, Platforms, and Applications

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Streamlining Access Requests and Approvals to Increase Security and Efficiency Across the Healthcare System

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Simplifying the Access Review Process and Responding to Ongoing Healthcare Compliance Demands

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Enforcing Strong Password Management Across the Healthcare Organization

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Reducing Certification Fatigue and Increasing User Adoption within the Healthcare Organization

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See How to Better Protect Access in Your Health System

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