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Ransomware: A HIPAA Concern for Doctors and Dentists

Ransomware: A HIPAA Concern for Doctors and Dentists

According to a recent U.S Government report, ransomware attacks have been rapidly increasing since early 2016. The reality is staggering. An estimated 4,000 ransomware attacks take place every day. So what is ransomware? It's a type of computer virus or malware that attempts to deny access to a user’s information by encrypting their data.   Healthcare and dental facilities are often targeted because of their perceived ability to pay a ransom and the reliance on maintaining the confidentiality and availability of patient electronic protected health information (ePHI) under HIPAA. So in essence, HIPAA makes you a potential target, but it also serves to protect you since it requires the implementation of technical, administrative and physical safeguards.  First off,...

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Choosing the Right PPE for the Task - Healthcare and Dentistry

Choosing the Right PPE for the Task - Healthcare and Dentistry

There's an old saying "If the shoe fits, then wear it." It's got a ring to it, but it certainly wouldn't be good advice if we were talking about PPE use. The fact is when it comes to personal protective equipment (PPE), it's important to enforce minimum requirements to keep employees safe. In many cases this will be as simple as following manufacturers' recommendations, but in some cases it's up to the employer to set and enforce these minimum requirements. The procedures you perform that require PPE to eliminate or reduce likely exposure to blood or OPIM are listed in your Exposure...

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GHS container labeling and OSHA in Sterilization, Labs and Nurse Stations

GHS

GHS container labeling and OSHA in Sterilization, Labs and Nurse Stations

Now that that we've had some time to digest the Hazard Communication Standard's alignment with GHS we've realized just how much has changed especially when it comes to secondary container labeling. The new standard requires quite a bit of additional information and it can be tough to fit it on a standard label. Although write on labels are a quick and easy way to comply with the standard, it can be time consuming when you have multiple containers or locations. We've slowly built a collection of GHS labels that we created for our use in the field. These are products that usually need...

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What’s the difference between HIPAA Privacy and Security?

What’s the difference between HIPAA Privacy and Security?

One of the most common questions we receive is to explain the difference between the two HIPAA regulations. Although the Privacy and Security Rule work together, they’re distinct have have a unique purpose. In a nutshell, the HIPAA Privacy Rule focuses on the rights of the individual and their ability to control their protected health information or PHI. It allows practices to use the information for treatment, payment and other required functions, but otherwise it must remain confidential. This is an assurance that the information will be safeguarded from unauthorized disclosure. The Privacy Rule covers the physical security and confidentiality...

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HIPAA. Do we need encryption?

HIPAA. Do we need encryption?

Do we need encryption? It's simple question, but unfortunately the answer isn't as easy. Health and Human Services (HHS) technically says encryption falls under an implementation specification that's "addressable". So, no it might not be required, but it must be considered. We're seeing more practices regularly using it to encrypt data on storage devices and for securely transmitting PHI to other covered entities or for insurance claims.  HHS identifies implementation specifications as either "required" or "addressable". "Required" means mandatory compliance. Failing to implement these means your violating the HIPAA Security Rule.  The following are all "Required" implementation specifications;  Administrative Safeguards - Security Management Process -...

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