Dental Clinics Face Grave Danger in the Form of Cybercrime

The healthcare industry, including dental clinics, is the most breached industry at this point in time. In fact, the healthcare industry accounts for 43% of ALL data security breaches. In the past, the financial industry was a huge target, but nowadays, health records sell for 10 times more than credit card information on the dark web. Why? The answer is simple: Health records provide optimal opportunities for hackers looking to commit insurance fraud or identity theft. You can’t simply cancel your personal information the way you can cancel your credit or debit card. Even the smallest dental clinics hold a HUGE amount of data, such as:

  • Names
  • Health histories
  • Birthdays
  • Addresses
  • Social security numbers
  • Banking information

In the last few years, dental clinics have been embracing the concept of digitization – not only to manage the huge amount of data they collect, but also to improve the way they serve their patients. In many cases, technology enables dentists to see more patients in less time – keeping their waiting room full and their operating room busy as ever. Many dental clinics are leveraging remote access solutions that allow for:

  • Sharing patient data between clinics and/or staff members
  • Backing up patient data on a regular basis
  • Ensuring accessibility anytime from any location

While this is great, it’s important to take the right precautions when leveraging any form of technology within a dental clinic that handles sensitive information.

What are the biggest cybersecurity risks facing dental clinics?

As time goes on and more data security breaches occur, we’ve been able to pinpoint the biggest cybersecurity risks facing dental clinics:

  1. Unauthorized access or disclosure
  2. Lost records and/or devices
  3. Improper record disposal
  4. Hacking and/or malware infections

Dental clinics must ensure they’re taking part in some sort of cybersecurity training for employees. This is the best way to minimize the cybersecurity risks listed above. Aside from cybersecurity training for employees, dental clinics should also implement the following:

  • Anti-virus software
  • Firewalls
  • Encryption
  • Data backup and business continuity planning
  • Two-factor authentication
  • Intrusion detection software

What are the penalties for dental clinics that violate HIPAA?

Dental clinics are required to comply with HIPAA (The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act). This means they need to take the right precautions to ensure the security, integrity, and confidentiality of all electronic health records. The penalties imposed in the event of a HIPAA violation are quite large. The monetary penalties alone can range from $100 – $50,000 per violation with a maximum of $1,500,000 annual penalty. Aside from this, dental clinics can also face lawsuits from disgruntled patients or penalties imposed at the state level.

Your patients trust you to keep their electronic health records safe against unauthorized access. We recommend comparing dental IT companies and finding the one that best suits your clinic’s needs to ensure you’re protected. Call (703) 493-1796 or email us at info@novacomputersolutions.com to learn more about our dental IT services.

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