Cybersecurity in your Medical Practice

Cybersecurity in your Medical Practice

We’ve touched on ways to enhance cybersecurity in your medical practice many times in this blog. Today, we’d like to zoom out a bit and look at your whole organization, not just the things that would typically be considered IT security and cyber security.

If you look at your organization from a risk standpoint, what does it look like? Does it look good in one area (say, cybersecurity) but like Swiss cheese in others? Have you properly built the correct structure to mitigate risk in the organization, not just from an IT perspective?

5 Ways to Minimize Risk in your Medical Practice

We’ve built a small list of things to consider when building a culture of risk reduction in your medical practice.

  1. For some smaller medical practices, there is no board of directors. But, if you’ve grown to the point where you now have a board of directors, is there a board risk committee in place, and do they have a charter for operation? Risk management starts at the top of the organization. If you have a board of directors, it starts with them. If you don’t, it falls on the senior leadership team. Either way, you need a risk committee to oversee your risk program.
  2. Do you have a formal risk management program in place? Is that risk management program documented in a single document? Many organizations have some parts of a risk management program in place (say, focused on IT) but fail to consider other parts of their business which incur risk, such as third party vendors.
  3. Has the organization designated one person to be the Chief Risk Officer (CRO) or Risk Manager? If so, does that person have a job description which adequately describes their role in the organization? For a healthcare organization, the HIPAA coordinator and the Risk Manager have some overlapping duties, and it may be possible to combine each of these into the same job. However, as the organization grows, these will naturally be split into two positions or into two roles in the organization.
  4. Has the organization integrated the risk program into the long-term strategic plan? Integrating the risk program into the strategic plan helps the leadership team maintain focus on potential risks to the organization all the while providing the long-term planning necessary for growth.
  5. Does the organization have documented and reported key performance indicators around risk management? For instance, how many of your vendors have gone through a complete vetting process and annually go through the vetting process again? Vendors are never a static entity – they are always changing from both a security and financial perspective. Revisiting them each year helps you be confident in their ability to properly serve your practice.

While this is not a comprehensive listing of potential risks in an organization, it is a starting point for your risk management program and will help enhance cybersecurity in your medical practice.

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