Medical scribes have become essential to healthcare teams as the healthcare industry becomes evermore intertwined with technology. Medical scribes are individuals trained to document patient visits, freeing up healthcare professionals to focus on delivering high-quality care. However, medical scribes have access to sensitive patient data, which makes them a prime target for cybercriminals. This is why HIPAA compliance and cybersecurity awareness training are crucial for medical scribes.
HIPAA, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, was enacted in 1996 to protect patients’ privacy and ensure the confidentiality, availability, and integrity of electronic protected health information (ePHI). The law applies to anyone with access to ePHI, including medical scribes, who handle patient data. Compliance with HIPAA is critical as non-compliance penalties can be severe, including fines and even criminal charges.
Cybersecurity awareness training is one of the primary ways to ensure HIPAA compliance. Cybersecurity awareness training helps medical scribes understand the importance of protecting patient information and the potential consequences of failing to do so. The training should cover various topics, including identifying and responding to cybersecurity threats, creating strong passwords, and securing electronic devices.
Medical scribes should also be aware of the common cybersecurity threats that can compromise patient data. Phishing attacks, for example, are a common way cybercriminals gain access to sensitive information. Phishing attacks involve tricking individuals into providing sensitive information, such as usernames and passwords. Medical scribes should know how to identify phishing attempts and how to respond appropriately.
Another common cybersecurity threat is malware. Malware is malicious software that damages or disrupts computer systems. Malware can compromise patient data by stealing login credentials, installing keyloggers, or exfiltrating files. Medical scribes should understand how to prevent malware infections and how to respond to malware attacks.
In addition to cybersecurity awareness training, medical scribes should also have training on how to securely use electronic health record (EHR) systems. EHR systems are a critical tool for healthcare providers, but they can also be a source of vulnerability if not used appropriately. Medical scribes should receive training on how to use EHR systems safely, including logging out of the system when not in use, protecting login credentials, and reporting any suspicious activity.
One of the challenges of cybersecurity awareness training is that it is not a one-time event. Cybersecurity threats are constantly evolving, and medical facilities must stay current on the latest threats and how to prevent them. Cybersecurity awareness training should be ongoing, with regular refresher courses.
Another critical aspect of HIPAA compliance is the physical security of patient data. In-office medical scribes should know how to protect physical records, such as charts and paper documents. They should also understand how to dispose of sensitive information properly, including shredding and securely disposing of documents.
Medical scribes that work virtually should also be aware of the risks associated with remote work. With the rise of telemedicine, more healthcare providers are allowing medical scribes to work from home. While this offers many benefits, it also creates new cybersecurity risks. Medical scribes should know how to secure their home networks, use secure remote access tools, and protect patient data while working remotely.
In addition to cybersecurity awareness training, medical scribes should understand the importance of confidentiality and privacy. Patients have a right to privacy, and medical scribes play a critical role in protecting that privacy. Medical scribes should know how to maintain confidentiality, communicate effectively with patients, and handle sensitive information.
One of the best ways for clinics and hospitals to ensure HIPAA compliance and cybersecurity awareness is to hire medical scribes who have undergone specialized training or partner with medical scribe companies, like Athreon, that make HIPAA compliance and cybersecurity awareness training part of their organizational culture.
With the threats to ePHI growing by the day, the importance of HIPAA compliance and cybersecurity awareness training for medical scribes is more critical than ever. As healthcare providers increasingly rely on technology, medical scribes must be well-trained in protecting patient data.
At Athreon, we’re different from our competitors because we support clinics and hospitals with more than medical scribing. We also specialize in HIPAA compliance consulting and cybersecurity awareness training. Our AxiScribe medical scribing service rigorously meets the unique needs of healthcare providers to ensure the highest level of clinical charting and patient data protection. Contact Athreon today to learn how AxiScribe can help your healthcare team improve its quality and defenses.