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The Role of RCM in Preventing Data Breaches

Like every other industry, Healthcare also has its own set of regulations for a more ethical and smooth operation. On that note, a keyword in every aspect of healthcare is Compliance and it tails its list of challenges. From patient safety to storing, protecting, and managing patient data, the stages are widespread, and through it all, ensuring compliance can be quite a task to accomplish. Indeed, in the HRCM Compliance is a part that can’t be unseen or ignored.

To ensure that the aspect of Compliance is prioritized in all the stages of Healthcare, The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) was put into place by the United States in 1996.  This act aims to standardize and enforce safety measures and transactions to avoid data breaches of any kind.

Data Breaches in Healthcare?

Well, highlighting some statistical infographics would shed some light on the situation, “Data breaches in healthcare have risen yearly since 2009. HIPAA reports an average of 364,571 records breached daily in 2023. Notably, only major breaches are reported, likely underestimating the true number. In 2023, a major breach affected 11 million patients of HCA Healthcare, compromising personal details like names, addresses, and appointment data”.

Following this information, it is only natural to that a question on the risk of data breaches is posed forward. Firstly, they compromise patient privacy, eroding trust in the healthcare system due to breaches of confidentiality. Secondly, these breaches often expose individuals’ identities, making them vulnerable to identity theft and fraud. Thirdly, manipulation of health records can have serious repercussions, affecting the quality of care provided. Lastly, breaches result in a loss of patient trust, impacting the reputation and loyalty of healthcare providers.

So, to prevent Data Breaches, it is only commendable to understand how this is possible. Data breaches often occur through third-party sources in healthcare settings. Hospitals and healthcare organizations frequently collaborate with third-party service providers, like revenue cycle management companies or network solution providers, who need access to patient data for virtual support. These breaches can occur either at the provider’s location or during the transmission and storage of data, highlighting the importance of robust security measures throughout the data handling process.

With the understanding of how data breaches occur, isn’t it wise to go by the proverb, “Prevention is better than cure”?  Here are ways by which a revenue cycle management service provider like us can help prevent data breaches.

  1. Improving technology infrastructure

A 2020 study found that the main factor contributing to healthcare data breaches is technology hacking. Revenue cycle management solution providers have started to prioritize and invest in strong technical infrastructure to stop these breaches. This entails putting in place several levels of encryption for data access and transmission in addition to safeguarding databases, storage servers, and networks.

Quintessence ensures data security and confidentiality for clients through SOC Type II certification and employs three layers of security: network, physical, and application.

  1. Workforce training

According to the report, unapproved internal disclosures rank second in frequency of data breaches in the healthcare industry, behind technical hacking. Whether deliberate or not, these disclosures highlight how important it is for healthcare providers and other outside service providers who handle revenue cycle management to provide thorough employee training.

Quintessence places a high priority on guarding against unauthorized access to and disclosure of customer data. To ensure that they know how to handle sensitive client data securely during access, storage, transfer, and management activities, our personnel go through extensive privacy training and continuous refresher sessions in set intervals.

  1. Safety auditing and assessments

While audits are frequently conducted by revenue cycle management service providers to improve their operations, many of them ignore audits that are especially concerned with data security and privacy. Finding vulnerabilities in the company’s network systems and implementing preventative corrective action depends heavily on these assessments. It’s critical to understand that hackers are constantly improving their techniques, therefore service providers must constantly be on the lookout for new threats and improve their data protection protocols to stay safe.

External auditors verify that all Quintessence procedures and products adhere to HIPAA Act regulations.

  1. Controlling access authentication

Establishing procedures that regulate who has access to what data and how, when, and why it is accessed is part of access authentication. Secure login procedures, VPN access, and multistep authentication are a few methods for managing access authentication.

Improving access authentication will virtually stop inadvertent data leaks. In order to guarantee total data security, Quintessence’s delivery centers are SOC II Type 2 certified and feature network, physical, and application-layer security.

  1. Continuous monitoring

 Implementing continuous monitoring is the fifth crucial step for revenue cycle management service providers to prevent data breaches. This involves regularly monitoring systems and networks, providing ongoing data security training for employees, and establishing a dedicated team to identify and address any suspicious activities promptly. These measures collectively ensure the safety and security of client data, helping to prevent unauthorized access and breaches.

All things considered, revenue cycle management service providers may be quite helpful to their clients in preventing expensive data breaches and preserving their good name, confidence, and patient loyalty through proactive, planned, and preventive measures. Providers can fulfill their promises to their healthcare consumers regarding confidentiality and privacy by putting the five suggested measures into practice.

At Quintessence Business Solutions and Services, we focus on data protection while providing full revenue cycle management services. Get in touch with us to find out more about our guaranteed outcome-based partnership strategy and smooth transition process.

References

  1. https://www.hipaajournal.com/healthcare-data-breach-statistics/
  2. https://hcahealthcare.com/about/privacy-update.dot
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7349636/

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