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How to Safeguard Health Information as a Remote CTR
Safeguard Health Information

In today’s world, it seems hackers are trying to get any type of personal, private or financial data they can profit off of. Health information is going at an all-time rate and hackers are constantly trying to find new ways to gain access to this sensitive data.

Here are a few practices I’ve adopted to help safeguard health information from hackers while working remotely as a CTR:

    Just as if you were working in a hospital or clinical setting, make sure you lock your workstation when you walk away. Even if you are just walking away for a few minutes, it should be common practice to lock your workstation when you are not physically in front of it.

    Make sure your monitors are not visible to anyone around you, including family members who may be in the house with you. Or if your computer is close to a window make sure information is not visible to someone looking in. You can even use a screen shield or filter to help you safeguard health information from onlookers.

    Do not keep logins information or passwords visible at your workstation. It’s best to use a secure password manager program such as LastPass to store this information.

    Do not print or write down any information with HIPAA or other private information on it. If this is a necessity for your job, make sure to shred the information immediately when you are done using it with a crosscut shredder. The same goes for saving HIPAA electronic information on your computer. When you are done using the data to complete a task, permanently delete the file from your computer. You should not save HIPAA information to your desktop, as it is not secure. Make sure it is saved to a secure drive in order to safeguard health information.

    Use extreme caution when you receive an email from an unknown sender. It may be a phishing scheme that a hacker may be using to try and access your computer. Do not open any attachments from a sender you do not know or if you receive information you were not expecting. Hackers are becoming more and more sophisticated and these emails may look very real but may be laced with malware or other destructive computer viruses. Some hackers even go to the lengths of impersonating someone you may know or try to emulate email addresses that are similar to emails from your organization. If you are unsure why someone is requesting sensitive information from you, you should call and speak to that person before releasing the information to them.

    Also be cautious when sending or sharing personal data. If you have to send any private data by email, make sure you encrypt the data. And make sure not to inadvertently overshare data. If information is not needed for a task, do not include that additional information. Only include data that is needed to perform that particular task.

    If you think you may have experienced a breach, hack or that you may have received a computer virus, make sure you reach out to the compliance or security team at your organization immediately.

Remember to treat all data as if it was your personal data or a family member’s data. You would not want your information laying around on someone’s desk or visible on a computer screen for other people to see and read. Always use caution and care when utilizing this very sensitive and personal health information.

How do you safeguard health information while working remotely? Leave a comment below to share your tips.

Learn more about CHAMPS Oncology's commitment to protecting client cancer data.

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About the Author

Cortney Grossman, CTR