HIPAA TIP: HIPAA Security Awareness Training

Why is it so important to educate staff, physicians, owners and third parties – Business Associates and their subcontractors – on protecting and securing patients’ medical information, either in paper form or electronic data?

Healthcare organizations top the list of industries that are most vulnerable to cyber attacks. This is because of the sensitive patient data, and the value this data brings when sold on the black market. The healthcare sector suffered about 295 breaches in the first half of 2023 alone, according to the HHS Office for Civil Rights data breach portal.

Regular security awareness training needs to be completed – not just once a year. Sending out monthly email reminders, posting information in the break room on cyber hygiene, adding HIPAA to quarterly office meetings, and the importance of protecting patient data, simulated phishing emails – all of these reinforce why it is necessary to stay aware of potential attacks. When discussing security awareness, remind your staff to use their training when outside of the office and working on their own personal information: online banking, saving sensitive information on their computer at home, never clicking on a suspicious link or attachment sent to their personal email.

Keeping our patients’ data secure is the fundamental building block of the HIPAA Rule. We cannot be too careful!