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Healthcare providers, payers, software, and life sciences organizations face increasing risks regarding protecting health information (PHI) entrusted to them by their patients. The growth in electronic health records (EHRs), government regulation, technology risks, and recent efforts by state-sponsored hacking groups amplify the need for healthcare organizations to mature their information security programs.

The latest cyberattack against Change Healthcare significantly impacted the financial stability of health systems across the country and hindered their ability to optimize patient care. One of the hidden dangers of such cyberattacks can be what happens with the stolen PHI.

In fact, the Minnesota Hospital Association and Minnesota Attorney General have issued warnings as ‘scammers appear to be targeting patients affected by the Change Healthcare ransomware attack,’ according to an article published by the HIPAA Journal. The association has received information that patients impacted by the breach are now getting calls from individuals claiming to be ‘representatives from hospitals, clinics, and pharmacies who are offering refunds or demanding payment.’

IT resources continue to face demand for tech transformation

While this moment has led to a heightened prioritization of safeguarding patient data for health systems, the demands on healthcare IT resources continue to increase as organizations struggle to balance managing risk with new or optimizing business-driven initiatives.

ServiceNow recognizes the security and privacy challenges facing healthcare organizations that manage electronic Protected Health Information (ePHI). By safeguarding all customer data with rigorous measures, regardless of its type or sensitivity, ServiceNow aims to ensure the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of ePHI that healthcare organizations create, receive, maintain, or transmit. As ServiceNow has grown, particularly with offering the ability to build custom tables and entire applications, they’ve likely recognized the countless use-cases that involve storing ePHI on the platform, which also likely led to them proactively addressing these needs.

In today’s healthcare environment, the demand for technological transformation is increasing. Organizations must shift their IT operations to accommodate new technology, regulations, and patient safety requirements while designing their digital environment for more technically savvy clinicians and patients.

Complying with HIPAA means ensuring patient data is accessible when needed but protected against unauthorized access or breaches. ServiceNow’s platform facilitates this by providing robust security measures, such as encryption and access controls, that enable healthcare organizations to maintain the confidentiality and integrity of patient data while ensuring its availability. ServiceNow customers get a ‘leg up’ by utilizing a platform specifically designed to meet these requirements, enhancing their ability to comply with HIPAA while efficiently managing and securing ePHI.

Not confident in your compliance landscape?

To an organization less confident in its compliance landscape, it would be advisable to conduct a thorough assessment of its current security and privacy controls against the requirements set by applicable laws and regulations, especially HIPAA. Recognizing a less-than-ideal situation typically involves identifying gaps in compliance, such as inadequate data protection measures, lack of proper access controls, or insufficient training for staff.

The first step to address these issues would be to enhance understanding of regulatory requirements, followed by implementing a structured compliance and security program that includes measures like encryption, data access controls, and employee training.

ServiceNow offers various tools and resources, such as the CORE platform and HIPAA-specific controls, to assist organizations in improving their compliance posture and security practices. ServiceNow’s various GRC offerings also tie into supporting this effort.

Optimum understands that your organization has a unique IT environment. Backed by our industry-proven expertise, Optimum provides guidance, best practices, and advisory services to ensure your technology projects’ success. Optimum’s expertise will translate your goals into a transformative plan that will not only improve your compliance landscape immediately but position the organization for success in the future.

Learn more about our healthcare-specific ServiceNow offerings here.

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Nick Sessa

Sr. ServiceNow Technical Consultant LinkedIn

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