External file Sharing Governance is challenge for many healthcare organizations (HCOs), but it’s a challenge they need to address to deliver the best possible care while ensuring compliance with data privacy and data security regulations like HIPAA.
It is becoming increasingly critical for providers to have full control and visibility into patient health information (PHI) and how it is shared externally with specialists, researchers, other facilities or insurers. The ramifications of not knowing where PHI is stored, who has access to it, or what’s being done with it, does more than denote poor external file Sharing Governance. It can lead to a data breach or a compliance violation, or both.
External File Sharing Governance Is an Operational Requirement
There are a number of reasons why organizations need to practice external file sharing governance and they pertain to sharing data securely with external organizations or users. Consider the scenario of a doctor collaborating with a specialist on a particular case, a remote care facility transferring a patient (and her records) to a hospital, or a medical staff member sending a patient’s treatment summary to his insurer.
But finding the data to send is often a challenge. A single patient’s information is likely scattered across a modern-day hospital. EHR systems like Epic and Cerner, ECM systems like SharePoint Online and Open Text, CRM systems like Salesforce and SugarCRM, ERP systems like Oracle and SAP and others all hold patient data. And new systems and devices are constantly being added.
External File Sharing Governance Requires Internal Control over Data
Connecting these systems is one challenge; accessing the information on these systems is another. HIPAA requires that healthcare organizations know precisely where patient information is stored and who has access to it (hint: not everyone should have access to patient information).
Unauthorized access – whether it’s a hacker, a staff member who falls victim to a phishing attempt or nosy administrator curious about a celebrity patient – are all real threats to hospitals and their file sharing governance efforts. Data breaches and subsequent HIPAA violation fines are on the rise. There is no indication that the problem is going to get better anytime soon.
But it’s not all doom and gloom. Healthcare CIOs, CISOs, and IT departments have a prime opportunity to capture and leverage all the data being generated to achieve the highest levels of security, demonstrate compliance and maintain existing workflows. This includes external file sharing governance.
Internal file access governance and external file sharing governance can give healthcare IT organizations the visibility and control they need to keep PHI safe and their organizations compliant with HIPAA and HITECH.
To learn how proper external file sharing governance is essential – and possible – to maintain patient privacy as well as ensure regulatory compliance, download our eBook: Transforming Care with Governance Over External File Sharing.
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