Data encryption can help protect info stored in chiropractic EHRs

Data encryption could help protect EHR information.

Data encryption could help protect EHR information.

Having sensitive patient data stored in web based chiropractic software is a great way to make it easily accessible and transferable. However, as with any mode of storing information, there are risks of breach involved. Luckily, practitioners can protect their chiropractic EHRs with data encryption. 

Essentially, what this involves is encoding information so that a private key is required to unlock it. This can be done simply in-house with low-cost software and applications, or practices can choose to hire a consultant or ask their EHR vendor for a recommendation. But what matters most is that it gets done. 

A data breach can cost a practice anywhere from $100 to $1.5 million over the course of a year. In comparison, the Ponemon Institute has reported that the total cost of ownership of an encryption system costs roughly $366 a year for a medical practice. This includes both software and time spent on updates and backing up data. Doctors and administrators who are weighing the cost of encryption against the cost of a breach should be aware that they're taking a big gamble by not protecting their patient information. 

In another Ponemon Institute study that looked at 80 healthcare practices using EHRs, researchers found that 57 percent had experienced data breach incidents costing $500,000 or more. Encryption is one step administrators can take to prevent fines and stay HIPAA compliant.

However, chiropractic EHR users should be mindful of their encryption practices to protect their encoding keys. For example, these passwords should never be stored on the same server as protected data, and administrators should also avoid giving their keys to cloud providers. You will want to develop best practices for encryption in your office's contingency plan.

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