Maintaining a Secure Patient Portal

Maintaining a Secure Patient PortalJune 26, 2015 by Vickie Anenberg

Empowering patients by giving them remote access to their healthcare records via a patient portal has proven to provide hospitals with numerous benefits. Among them are improved HCAHPS scores and the potential to improve patient-physician interaction. More advanced portals can also reduce paperwork by serving as online centers for patient billing and payments.

Cross Country Staffing notes that security issues can have a serious negative impact on hospitals if patient data is compromised due to hacking, theft of computers containing patient information, or staff negligence. Therefore, every facility needs to have patient portal policies and procedures in effect that are reviewed on a regular basis to ensure a secure electronic environment and compliance with evolving regulations.

A new article, “Protecting Patient Portal Information,” has been posted by Executive Insight. It provides a number of details about important aspects of securing patient data that may otherwise be inadvertently overlooked. Quoting from the article, “Separating out subsets of data-data segmentation is key to preventing sensitive data from being posted without proper authorization. This requires the right technology supported by a data governance plan to effectively protect privacy. For example, even though a patient's STD test is left out of the EHR, a medication list might reveal the diagnosis.

The author, Alisha R. Smith, RHIA, clearly explains another interesting topic, “Managing Portal Access for Minors,” and closes the article by posting a list of steps hospitals can use to promote security best practices. These include:

  1. Multi-layered secure portal access and encryption.
  2. Risk assessment and compliance.
  3. Patient initiated review of personal data accuracy.
  4. Continuing education programs for hospital staff and patients alike.

Cost-effective facility staffing, particularly for healthcare specialties in high demand, can be extremely challenging. Healthcare executives need to have confidence that their hires are qualified and thoroughly understand HIPAA regulations regarding patient privacy.

Cross Country Staffing has been helping hospitals to manage these and other complex staffing challenges for over 35 years. We invite you to learn more about Cross Country Staffing and our proven workforce solutions. Talk with a Cross Country Staffing representative about how we can customize a program to meet your current and future staffing needs. Your facility can maximize its quality care competitive edge by partnering with Cross Country Staffing.