Last year, there were 725 data breaches involving 500 or more patients reported. Across those data breaches, a whopping 133 million patient records were exposed or improperly disclosed. These breaches put patient information at risk, and they can also permanently damage the reputation of the healthcare organizations involved. With data breaches on the rise, how can you act now to safeguard your dental practice?

Why Do Data Breaches Occur?

Before you can protect your dental practice, you need to understand some of the things that lead to data breaches in the first place. Some of the most common reasons include:

  • Poor security measures, like low-quality passwords or outdated software without updates installed
  • Social engineering techniques, like phishing
  • Third-party exposure through external vendors or partners who have insufficient security measures
  • And more!

Upgrade Your Access Controls

Did you know that 44% of employees use the same login information across their personal and work accounts? Additionally, the most common password found in data breaches remains “123456”. If you do not have rigorous password standards, you are placing your business at risk. You should require employees to have complex passwords that contain a variety of letters, numbers, and symbols. The passwords should not contain the name of your business, their name, or your employee’s birthdate. Additionally, they should be updated every 90-180 days.

Don’t Wait to Install Updates

It can be incredibly frustrating to show up at your dental practice in the morning and find out that there is an update for a computer or piece of software that you don’t have the time to install. Unfortunately, this can lead to delaying the implementation of critical security patches. Work with your IT partner or staff to ensure that all updates are installed in a timely fashion without interrupting your workflow.

Know Your Weak Spots

When businesses have a security scare, they often perform a third-party audit of their security systems to identify problems that could lead to data breaches. However, security is a constant problem that a one-time audit won’t solve. Make sure that your dental practice is conducting regular security assessments. These assessments should look for vulnerabilities in your systems, ensure that you are maintaining HIPAA compliance, and

Train Employees

Your employees are your biggest strength, but they can also be your biggest weakness. While there are some sneaky ways that data breaches can occur, many of them begin due to phishing attempts or other social engineering tactics. Invest in security training for all employees at your dental practice so that they understand their role in stopping data breaches.

Improve Your Dental Practice with APEX Reimbursement Specialists

Whether you’re looking for a way to make the insurance verification process easier or hoping to improve your overall patient communication plan, APEX Reimbursement Specialists is here to help. Contact our team today by calling (410) 710-6005. We look forward to working with you to make your practice a more profitable place.