Medical Physical Record Security

 

 

            This blog addresses physical security of medical records. These days; with litigation having become an industry, and crime virtually not requiring personal interaction, regulation growing ever more pervasive “at times necessary based on the first two points”, it’s important to take steps to avoid awaiting snares.

 

 

             No doubt, any medical office contains access points for valuable information, though they may have little cash on hand. It may be difficult for an honest person to see how that information might be valuable to someone else, but to a wrongdoer, it can present real financial opportunity.

Certainly; a threat can present itself from outside the office, such as a software hacker, but inside the office there are opportunities for those who might wish to access patient information for profit.

 

 

 

Who might be in the office?

  • Patients (and accompanying parties)

  • Cleaning personnel

  • Pharmaceutical representatives

  • Local inspectors

  • Construction and maintenance personnel

  • Employees

  • Former employees

  • Food services

  • Friends and family

  • Pest control

  • Bio-hazard disposal company

  • Computer systems maintenance personnel

  • Accountant

  • Insurance folks

  • Vendors "Solicitors"

  • Persons with ill intent (thieves)

It starts at the “door”.

   Most free-standing medical offices have some type of security system installed for doors, and possibly windows. These are often alarm systems with sensors that pick up when someone (anyone) breaches a door or window during off-hours when the alarm is set, and keeps one type of unwanted entry in check.

Access Controls 

    What may be less common is a system to track who enters areas within the office during normal business hours. Hospitals routinely have this ability, given that there are so many employees and areas with restricted entry. However; for “records rooms”, or access points behind the patient sign-in area, it isn’t as common to have a door with restricted access. This can be accomplished by simply adding a door and reader to monitor who goes in, and keep anyone else who may be in the office from entering the area (except in a case of forced entry). You may also be able to add Access Control data for persons exiting a secured area, but it requires the approval of the Authority Having Jurisdiction “AHJ”, and many times is not allowed. When allowed, it enhances evidence of data captured by security cameras, as it can be linked to a card from someone entering a secured area. Captured video; then, would likely show proof that the person entering is the one that carried out the incident.     With Covid-19, it is ever more apparent that the value of having a transparent partition between visitors and staff is a good idea. This is becoming more prevalent in many businesses with an uncalculated risk of infection, notwithstanding the more present threat in medical facilities.

   Today's camera technology, provides excellent forensic evidence. That information can be provided to HR or local authorities in the event of an incident. Certainly; no person with misplaced intentions wants to be captured on camera, so cameras do offer deterrence, but the fact that so many crimes are caught on camera suggests that it’s not a "total" solution to crime prevention. After drugs, records, or equipment have been stolen, in general terms, they’re gone. 

   So; in summary, for physical security of records:

  • Install access readers at building entry/exit points

  • Have a door and access reader installed at the patient sign-in area

  • Install a transparent partition at front station(s).

  • Install cameras at strategic points, (to capture forensic data to help prevent the repeat of incidence)

  • Install sensors at windows to capture alert of breach

  • Have or construct a room for storage of any physical records, and add restricted access reader

1PointUSA would like to work with on a strategy to keep your medical records safe from prying eyes, and to easily monitor access within your clinic. Please give us a call for a free consultation.

 

Be Secure...

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