10 Tips for Embracing a HIPAA-Compliant Cloud. by Asaf Cidon, CEO of Sookasa

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1 10 Tips for Embracing a HIPAA-Compliant Cloud by Asaf Cidon, CEO of Sookasa

2 Communication between doctors and patients keeps getting easier as technology provides more and more opportunities for sharing information. Using the cloud in a savvy way can make your work easier and keep your patients happy as long as you deploy it in a secure way. Here are 10 tips for embracing the cloud in your psychiatric practice Image Vladru-Shutterstock

3 1. Install a service like Dropbox across your home and work devices to store and access the files you use often. That way, your patients data will be at your fingertips on your computer, smartphone, or tablet, simplifying work from home or on the go and enabling you to deliver well-informed, quality care whenever your high-risk patients need it Image Mmaxer-Shutterstock

4 2. Encrypt your patient data to ensure maximum security and avoid HIPAA breaches. As your work spreads across services, devices, and staff, it s more important than ever to protect the data itself not just the places where it resides. A service like Sookasa encrypts files to protect them on the cloud and across connected devices, rendering sensitive information impenetrable to hackers and enabling you to use the cloud in a HIPAA-compliant way. By encrypting ephi, you ll get the peace of mind that your patients information won t be breached Image hin255-shutterstock

5 3. Designate a folder (or several) in the cloud for files that get shared among your staff. You ll always know where to look when you need something like blank patient intake forms, and the time you ll save on inter-office ing is an added bonus. For more sensitive information, like PHI, be sure that access is granted on a need-to-know basis. You can even set up shared folders with referring physicians or colleagues who need to share clinical notes and share expertise on tricky situations

6 4. Share your patients records quickly and securely as encrypted files. ing someone an attachment is certainly easy, but that convenience comes at a cost. Most consumerfriendly providers aren t HIPAAcompliant, because they aren t encrypted: What if the is intercepted in cyberspace or sent to the wrong person? Sending encrypted files which the cloud is making easier than ever eliminates these problems, granting both you and your patient the confidence that their information is in the right hands

7 5. Don t fear the hacker! Most security breaches are caused by user error, not by malicious hackers lurking on the Internet. Lost laptops, misaddressed s, or divulged passwords can definitely lead to security problems but they re easily mitigated if your files are properly encrypted and stored in the cloud. Hackers won t get at secure information, and neither will the guy who found your ipad at the airport Image Alina Ku-Ku-Shutterstock

8 6. Spend some time getting to know your cloud service. Studying what your chosen service provides will help you maximize the benefits you get out of using it. No matter what vendor you use, it is still your responsibility to protect your patients information, and understanding the risks can help you mitigate them. For example, one of the biggest threats to HIPAA compliance actually stems from one of the best productivity gains provided by the cloud: synchronization. Because file synchronization duplicates thousands of non-encrypted files to many mobile devices, even if files are secured on the cloud, they re unprotected once they reach devices. If the files themselves are encrypted, you re in the clear. But most cloud providers won t be explicit about that risk

9 7. Change your passwords often. This may seem obvious, but despite widely publicized risks about weak passwords, remains the most common password! Encrypting files in the cloud is a great step, but even if you have a guard dog, you still don t want to give a stranger the key to your house Image Syda Productions-Shutterstock

10 8. Empower your patients to contribute to their security. Patients are naturally going to want to use the path of least resistance to get information to you even if that means ing you their most sensitive information. But the truth is, you don t want that info landing in your inbox. A program (like Sookasa) lets you send encrypted files even to people who don t use Sookasa and the documents will stay encrypted throughout the transaction Image Maksym Poriechkin-Shutterstock

11 9. Maintain meaningful control of all your information. HIPAA compliance is about more than encryption it s about control. That might mean establishing a centralized dashboard to monitor company activity, devising a plan for emergency access, or being able to track any changes or movements made to a file. Doing this means you re on top of all your patients PHI, and you re less likely to get hit with unpleasant surprises. (Bear in mind that some 41% of HIPAA breaches are uncovered due to patient complaints.) Image AlexanderSupertramp-Shutterstock

12 10. Focus on the bottom line. Change is hard, and all these caveats might move you to think that the moving to the cloud is too hard, or too risky. But the truth is that legacy systems are being increasingly outpaced by technology, and electronic forms of communication are going to worm their way into your practice whether you like it or not. With the right precautions, the cloud is a safer place for your patient files anyway, and using the cloud can save you money (think of all the paper, postage, time, and expensive firewalls you d normally be using) and increase your productivity

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