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6 Tips To Keep Your Health Data Secure & Avoid Hackers

health information secureThe advent of digital access to healthcare and data has come with new security challenges. Learn how to keep your health data secure. 

Every day, you read about the horrifying consequences of improperly managing personal data, such as stolen information, leaked documents, or data breaches.

With healthcare data, any mismanagement presents more critical challenges as hackers can steal your identity and commit insurance fraud.

Consider the 2014 breach of Community Health Systems, which resulted in the theft of 4.5 million people’s personal information.  (1)

So, how can you ensure that the information about your health is safe?

In light of recent high-profile data breaches, exposing the personal information of many people, you must know how to protect your health data.

As you might know, I am a bestselling wellness author with about 2 million books sold globally.

Plus I founded a groundbreaking health course called Stop Emotional Eating Course.

I love sharing insights and strategies to help people to be happier and more successful.

So I put together this article with six tips to help you keep your health information secure.

6 Tips To Keep Your Health Data Secure

Read on to learn how to keep your health data from landing in the wrong hands and the consequences that follow. 

1. Know your healthcare apps 

You may feel tempted to use your new health app without reading the terms of service or privacy agreement, but it’s not advisable to do that. If possible, first check that the healthcare app is built by reputable software developers for healthcare companies. Understand how these apps will use your personal information and with whom they’ll share it by carefully reading the terms attached. 

It’s possible that the company to which you initially allowed access to your data has agreed to share your information with nameless third parties. Also, it can be that if another entity buys out your app vendor, the new owner may have different data privacy practices. If you decide to accept the terms and provide your data, do so with an informed mind. If and when your information gets out in the open, it’s out of your hands.  

2. Understand your healthcare provider’s information policy 

Nothing obliges your healthcare provider to keep your records forever. Hence, it would help if you didn’t assume that your doctor will preserve a copy of your weight or blood pressure measurements for as long as the facility exists. Data retention policies for personal healthcare data vary from one state to another.  

Therefore, you must make yourself aware of what will happen to your healthcare records in the long run. Understand what happens if you relocate or change your insurance, your doctor retires or sells the business, or there’ll be analogous circumstances. Find out what your doctor’s medical retention policy is. Ensure that your doctor transfers all of your medical records to your new one if you’re switching doctors. 

3. Make your authentication stronger 

health data secureYou need to appreciate the convenience and efficiency of accessing your medical records online. However, that brings new security challenges: theft of credentials from your accounts and records.

For that reason, you need to use strong passwords as a critical way of protecting your health care data. 

It’s your responsibility to ensure you have robust authentication measures in place. Choose a password that you don’t frequently use for other accounts.  

4. Don’t spill it all on social media 

It may feel good to share updates on your medical treatment on social media and get support from your friends and fans when battling a serious medical condition. However, experts warn that this information can benefit hackers who target such information, build a persuasive case, and steal your identity.  (3)

Hackers may be able to use your stolen identity to defraud your insurance for non-existent medical treatments. To avoid such instances, utilize strong privacy settings if you need to post medical information online. Generally, you should consider the type and amount of information you divulge about your personal life online. 

Likewise, avoid giving out your medical policy details at health fairs or over the phone to anyone who doesn’t have a real need for them. Don’t be tempted to take every offer for free medical checkups or nutritional supplements, particularly if a person asks for your insurance policy information.  

Hackers can use your insurance ID card information to obtain medical services in your name and rack up high medical costs. Don’t even give out your insurance card to family, acquaintances, or coworkers. 

5. Encrypt your information 

In addition to using strong authentication, make data inaccessible to anyone but the intended receiver and the user through encryption. Encryption efforts help to safeguard the integrity of documents, photos, scans, messages, and other personal health information, whether it’s in storage or transit. This is one of the best ways to safeguard your data while sharing it with your healthcare provider or healthcare apps. 

6. Actively monitor your healthcare bills 

Keep a close eye on your credit reports and medical bills. Credit score changes or an unexpected credit card charge, regardless of the amount, are tell-tale signs of fraudulent medical claims to your insurer. It’s essential to notify your health care and insurance providers promptly if you notice any of these issues. 

Both physicians and insurance companies are just as concerned about avoiding false claims by fraudsters as you are. To prevent your medical benefits and personal information from being misused by hackers, contact your healthcare facility and your insurance provider as soon as you see any out-of-line bill. 

Takeaway on How to Keep Health Data Secure

It’s crucial to take charge of your healthcare data security in whatever ways possible. As records become more digitally available and accessible, take precautions to ensure that your data doesn’t fall into the wrong hands.

Understand more about…

  • healthcare apps
  • doctor’s information retention policy
  • how to encrypt your data
  • best ways to secure your information with strong passwords.

Hopefully, these tips will help you keep your health data more secure.

References:

  1. 4.5 Million Records Stolen from Community Health by Chinese Hackers”,  
  2. Safety concerns with consumer-facing mobile health applications and their consequences: a scoping review
  3. [Heads Up] Five New Ways How Cyber Criminals Commit Insurance Fraud

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