A culture of security is essential in healthcare technology development to ensure the privacy and security of patient data.
Why it matters:
Actions are downstream from company culture. Tech companies prioritizing user and patient privacy will avoid losing trust and running afoul of the law. BetterHelp faced the consequences of sharing users'
sensitive mental health information with third parties for advertising
purposes, and The FTC imposed a $7.8 million fine on them. They were also banned from sharing sensitive mental health information
with third parties such as Facebook, Snapchat, Criteo, and Pinterest.
Fostering a security-minded culture
- Leadership commitment: Senior management must be committed to prioritizing security and dedicating resources to support security initiatives. A top-down approach ensures that the organization understands the importance of security and its role in protecting patient data.
- Security policies and procedures: Develop clear and comprehensive security policies and procedures that outline the organization's expectations regarding handling PHI, secure software development practices, and incident response protocols.
- Continuous improvement: Encourage a culture of continuous improvement by regularly reviewing and updating security policies and practices in response to evolving threats and regulatory requirements.
Security training and awareness
- Regular training: Provide consistent security training for all employees, including developers, to ensure they understand the potential risks and best practices for protecting patient data.
- Awareness campaigns: Implement ongoing security awareness campaigns to reinforce the importance of security and keep employees informed about the latest threats and best practices.
- Incentives and recognition: Recognize and reward employees who demonstrate exceptional security practices or proactively identify and address potential security risks.
Risk-based approach to software development
- Risk assessment: Conduct risk assessments at various stages of the software development process to identify and prioritize potential threats and vulnerabilities.
- Risk mitigation: Develop and implement appropriate risk mitigation strategies to address identified risks and minimize the likelihood of security incidents.
- Monitoring and reporting: Continuously monitor the effectiveness of risk mitigation strategies and report on progress to senior management and stakeholders.
Adopting HIPAA compliant SDLC and secure communication
- HIPAA compliant SDLC: By incorporating HIPAA specific requirements into the software development process, healthcare organizations can ensure that their applications meet security best practices and comply with relevant regulations related to the privacy and security of sensitive patient information.
- HIPAA compliant email: Secure communication throughout the development process is essential. Using HIPAA compliant email services ensures that sensitive patient information is transmitted securely, maintaining the privacy and security of PHI while adhering to HIPAA regulations.
Creating a culture of security in healthcare technology development is essential for protecting patient data and maintaining regulatory compliance. By fostering a security-minded culture, providing security training and awareness, adopting a risk-based approach to software development, implementing a HIPAA compliant SDLC, and utilizing HIPAA compliant communication tools, healthcare organizations can develop secure and compliant applications that patients and end-users can trust.