HIPAA, Social Media, and Technology
A Guide for Mental Health Professionals

Chapter 4: Other Technological Risks for Mental Health Professionals
Part 5: Physical Technology Risks for Mental Health Practitioners

Did you know that many data breaches for allied health businesses happen because of human error, such as a stolen laptop or lost thumb drive? According to a 2013 study by the Society of Corporate Compliance and Ethics and the Health Care Compliance Association New browser window icon., 27 percent of those surveyed reported that their latest data breach was caused by a misplaced portable memory device. It's another reminder to encrypt all sensitive data and not allow employees to leave the office with e-PHI saved on portable devices.

Employees who bring in their own devices to work also present risk. If they use their smartphone to connect to your secure Wi-Fi network, for example, but their device is infected with malware, your network could be at risk. Such an infection could open the door for hackers to enter your network, which is why you should always keep your antivirus software up to date.

Lastly, if you dispose of old machines or return rented ones, it's important that you have a tech expert wipe the devices first. That way, you don't have to worry about your patients' data getting into the wrong hands and being sold on the black market. (It happens New browser window icon..) According to Insurance Journal, your patients' health records are worth about ten times the rate of a stolen credit card New browser window icon. because they contain complete identities.

27% of allied health data breaches were caused by a lost memory device.

Next: Part 6: What Recourse Do You Have When Your Mental Health Office Is Hacked?

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