Healthcare organizations face an ongoing challenge in securing patient data and maintaining compliance with HIPAA. Human error is a significant factor in data breaches and HIPAA violations, but how does that impact cyber liability claims with an insurer?
Understanding the impact of human error
Human errors take various forms in healthcare organizations, such as sending sensitive information to the wrong recipient, improperly disposing of physical records, or inadvertently falling for phishing attacks. These errors can lead to data breaches and HIPAA violations, resulting in financial losses, reputational damage, and regulatory penalties. Insurers expect healthcare organizations to implement preventive measures and review these measures when evaluating claims during investigations.
Cyber liability insurance coverage for human error
Cyber liability insurance policies typically cover employee mistakes and mishandling, protecting against the consequences of data breaches and HIPAA violations. These policies can help healthcare organizations alleviate the financial impact of human error by covering a range of costs and losses, including:
- Investigation expenses to determine the extent and nature of the breach
- Legal defense fees associated with litigation or regulatory proceedings
- Regulatory fines and penalties imposed by government agencies
- Notification and credit monitoring services for affected patients
- Public relations efforts to restore the organization's reputation
Insurer evaluation of human error in claims & proactive steps
According to Devin Noe of Embroker Insurance, "It would probably go back to, do you have a handbook and do you have proper training?"
When evaluating a claim involving human error, insurers consider the healthcare organization's risk management practices, including:
- Proper procedures: Establish and implement comprehensive policies and protocols for handling sensitive information.
- Employee training: Provide regular, up-to-date education on data security best practices and HIPAA compliance for all staff members.
- Regular checks: Conduct routine audits to ensure employees adhere to established protocols and security measures.
Proactive steps for managing human error involve:
- Identifying areas of vulnerability within the organization and addressing them through training, updated policies, or technological solutions.
- Encouraging employees to report potential security incidents without fear of reprisal, fostering a culture of transparency and accountability.
- Reviewing and analyzing past incidents to identify patterns and potential areas for improvement.
- Use tools like HIPAA compliant email that minimize human error by automating encryption.
Strategies to minimize human error in healthcare organizations
To minimize human error, healthcare organizations should focus on the following strategies:
- Implement comprehensive employee training and education programs that cover data security best practices, HIPAA compliance, and organizational policies.
- Encourage a security-conscious organizational culture where employees understand the importance of protecting sensitive information and their role in preventing data breaches.
- Adopt technology and tools, such as multi-factor authentication and email filtering systems, to reduce the risk of human error and enhance overall security.
Choosing the right cyber liability insurance policy
When choosing a Cyber Liability Insurance policy, work with an experienced insurance broker or agent who can help evaluate policy exclusions and inclusions related to human error. They can also tailor a policy to address a healthcare organization's specific risks and needs, ensuring that the coverage aligns with the organization's risk profile and budget.
Invest in employee education
By investing in employee education, implementing cybersecurity best practices, and obtaining a tailored insurance policy, healthcare organizations can better protect themselves from the consequences of human error. Proactive risk management and a comprehensive Cyber Liability Insurance policy not only safeguard sensitive patient data but also contribute to maintaining the trust of patients and partners in the healthcare industry.