According to a recent HIMSS Cybersecurity Survey, 70% of respondents experienced a significant security incident in the previous 12 months. And yet, 61% of the same survey respondents report that their organization has no effective technology in place to detect or prevent against targeted data security issues. The HIMSS survey also reports that insider activities resulting in data breaches, such as negligence or malicious intent, are vastly underreported.
If the statistics above make you nervous, you should be. Simply put, data breaches due to security flaws or negligent processes will cost you, and we aren’t just talking about your reputation. HIMSS reports that just one breached patient record could cost approximately $380 in compliance fees. How many patient records are you responsible for at the moment? One breach could add up to millions in penalties – fast.
But it’s not all about the money. Disruption of critical patient services is the #1 consequence of significant data security incidents. Medical cybersecurity is a patient safety issue. That means that healthcare providers must implement reliable, secure fax technology so that essential communications and patient services remain uninterrupted – whatever the circumstance.
Any third-party provider you work with must have the technical, physical, and procedural security measures in place to maintain the confidentiality and integrity of faxes – and ensure your patients’ critical data is secure. They must guarantee that a comprehensive technical framework is in place alongside industry-specific certifications that adhere to stringent global requirements.
Can a third-party vendor keep PII data safe and HIPAA-compliant?
YES, but as a buyer, you need to do your homework. As you research your options, you must choose a willing vendor to sign a Business Associate Agreement. That’s standard procedure, but it’s critical.
Next, find out the range of security features the vendor has in place to comply with HIPAA regulations, such as:
- Data encryption: Fax messages (inbound and outbound) should be delivered in encrypted formats, whether SSL or signed email (PKI), so that PII can be delivered securely.
- Automatic fax removal: Messages containing sensitive content are automatically deleted from servers upon delivery, ensuring that nobody – including your third-party vendor – has access to sensitive information.
- User authentication: The technology gives you the ability to enforce appropriate access rights by compelling username and password access to the online fax system.
- Physical security: Actual server equipment must be housed in secure environments that are accessible only by approved personnel.
- Audit trail: The service should provide a full audit trail of faxes sent and received through the servers, viewable online or trackable using mail confirmations sent to a fax’s sender. Is the fear of change (or the work of implementing a new system) worth risking your patient’s data – not to mention the cost of a breach? Tech is evolving quickly, and if your fax system is a few years old (or older), your organization (and your clients) are already at risk. Not only is this a basic compliance no-no, but an ethical question. After all, “do no harm” is your commitment, so while you’re keeping patients healthy and thriving, you need to ensure you’re safeguarding their PII as well.
We’re ready to help you get started! Sign up for a live demo or start a free trial to learn how Upland’s secure cloud fax and document management technology can simplify communications for your organization while ensuring comprehensive data security and 100% HIPAA-compliance.