The medical industry is particularly vulnerable to cyberattacks; therefore, it is necessary to protect them by any means. No matter what happens, medical records and other personal information pertaining to patients must be kept secure.
This is because the patient data and financial records are maintained in the healthcare systems to remain abreast in any emergency and situations where patient data is required.
Billing records and data stored in the cloud should always be protected from unauthorized access. It is possible for the information to be misused, which puts the hospital’s reputation in jeopardy. For this, multiple platforms and services are used to protect the security breaches, frauds, and scams, which can eventually affect the healthcare industry as a whole.
Continue reading to learn how to recognize the cyber threats that might affect medical billing and coding, leading to serious consequences.
Major Cyber Threats to Medical Billing Services
Cyber threats to medical billing services are a concern that should be highlighted, and strict measures should be taken to ensure the security of data. Keep reading to know the major Cyber threats to medical billing services- how to identify and protect them.
Medical billing services handle sensitive patient information. This means that billing systems and cloud data records must be protected tightly. Sensitive patient data was still accessible to phishers.
Cybercriminals often use phishing attacks, in which they create a fake yet convincing website or email. However, this is their method for stealing private information from medical billing databases. It might be anything from the patient’s login credentials to medical history.
Where to look for a Phishing Scam?
Every healthcare billing service must be aware of certain types of electronic communication. Recipients of such messages may get alarmed at the thought of a phishing campaign compromising their personal information. Possible components of the email or message are as follows:
- Asks for sensitive data like passwords, credit card numbers, or Social Security numbers.
- Imparts a sense of urgency when the sender warns of dire consequences if the recipient delays a response.
- Make spelling and grammatical errors, or use a generic welcome instead of the person’s name.
- Includes a file or link that cannot be trusted.
- Neither the sender nor their address can be determined.
The word “ransomware” implies that hackers may seek compensation in exchange for their services. Data on the system is encrypted after being generated by malware created by the cybercriminal. Data access for healthcare professionals is being held hostage until a ransom is paid. Such inaccessibility is particularly hazardous for healthcare billing operations. The patient’s health may be at risk if the problem with the system is resolved slowly. Furthermore, the practice may result in the loss of critical data, which might result in monetary losses.
How to Protect yourself from Ransomware?
A comprehensive protection strategy requires a combination of technological and non-technical measures. Nonetheless, the following are some critical components for protecting the billing systems:
- Put in place the most current updates and fixes for your program.
- Protect your computer against viruses and other malware by using up-to-date anti-virus and anti-malware software.
- Use strong, unique passwords for all of your accounts. Use a password manager for the safekeeping and management of all your passwords.
Limit access to private information and infrastructure to just those who need it.
Train your team to recognize and avoid ransomware attacks.
Other Cyber Threats and How to Identify them
Lack of Security Training and Procedures
After malicious computer attempts, unauthorized access or disclosure is the most prevalent source of data breaches in the healthcare industry. The security of your clinic is jeopardized if employees need to be properly educated on the necessary precautions and processes for keeping patient information private. Detailed instruction on how to utilize your associated software vendor’s technology for optimal security should be the first step in any practice’s established security strategy.
Your practice is significantly more at risk of being affected by a breach if your workforce needs to grasp the significance of security and know how to employ technology properly. Make sure your staff receives up-to-date training on security procedures and the latest healthcare industry regulations to ensure the safety of patient information. A brief review annually may go a long way toward reinforcing rules and reminding staff of how important this is, even if nothing changes.
Keep your Passwords Safe
Never put a password in a document or email that other people may access. Instead, they should implement a tried-and-true method of saving passwords. Remember that a lack of memory is a typical excuse for bypassing password protection measures.
Each user should create a password based on a phrase rather than writing it down on Post-it notes and storing it in a desk drawer. A team member may use the phrase “Every morning I check email while the coffee brews” as the basis for a password, such as “emIcewtcb” (with the first letter of each word capitalized). Password security is improved by using a combination of letters, numbers, and special characters.
Regularly Conduct Risk Assessments;
It will be easier to defend yourself if you are aware of your weak spots. Failure to undertake frequent risk assessments can leave you in the dark about your firm’s security concerns.
The adversary here is complacency. Your in-house IT staff may conduct the risk assessment, or you can hire a third-party company to do it.
Protect Patients’ Private information by limiting access to it
You have no doubt read about patients whose personal information was taken by hackers in the news. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) safeguards such private information. The consequences of not protecting this information are severe. Criminal hackers utilize private medical information for identity theft, stealing money from bank accounts, and other criminal activities.
Make sure that only authorized persons are able to access patient data by having your security staff strictly enforce access controls. Auditing the system allows you to see when and by whom certain data was accessed. Employees who have been fired should have their access revoked to prevent them from re-entering the system and wreaking havoc as an act of vengeance. Software for the healthcare industry, such as electronic health record apps, simplifies the management of data access.
What are the Cyber Threats to Medical Billing Services?
Cyber threats to medical billing services are attacks that target your electronic system and valuable data. They try to access, steal patients’ data and use it illegally
How can I Identify a Potential Cyber Threat in my Medical Billing Service?
Keep an eye out for anything out of the ordinary, such as attempts at illegal access, slowdowns in performance, spikes in network traffic, or emails requesting personal information. Inspect records often to look for anomalies in activity.
How can I secure patient data in my Medical Billing Service?
Protect sensitive patient information at rest and in transit by using encryption methods. Protect patient privacy by letting only necessary people see medical records. Protect patient privacy by adhering to industry standards like HIPAA and GDPR.