Having patient records digitized has certainly been an advantage for the medical field. Now doctors can see those x-rays the second they become available, and your patient benefits by getting proper treatment quicker. And that’s just one tiny example of how digital medical records are benefiting practices and patients alike. However, there is also an ugly downside to digital records, and whether it is true or not, to the average patient they feel a lot less secure.

In a world where the Internet has made privacy a matter of primary concern, the stakes are even higher in the medical industry. After all, no one wants a practice’s reputation to be marred by a data breach. And then there are those hefty fines for HIPAA violations if patient data is stolen. Before you dump your computer in the river, and go back to keeping records in a massive filing cabinet, let’s look at your best options for keeping patient data safe in the digital world.

Defending the Right Thing: Patient Data

Most businesses figure that a firewall and some passwords for employees are all they really need to significantly reduce risk. While having these in place is far better than not, there’s a bigger issue at hand. If your system still gets hacked, is the data encrypted? For medical businesses, it is important to focus on protecting the right thing. Even in-house messaging needs to be encrypted, should a breach occur. Encryption is your first line of defense against fines because it ensures that even stolen data is not readable.

Of course, patient medical information isn’t the only data you have to protect. Patients pay medical bills with various types of credit cards and bank accounts. If that patient data is saved by your system, then you also need to encrypt and protect financial data. The fines may not be that high for losing a bunch of credit card numbers, but reputation damage can still sink a practice.

Go Beyond Minimum Compliance

You want to be able to tell your patients that their data is as safe as it can be. This alleviates concerns, and it can help save face for your practice should a breach ever occur.