More on Dental Data Breaches

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Patient Attraction Episode 884

It’s official – the Office of Civil Rights will begin investigating data breaches of protected medical information that don’t involve thousands and tens of thousands of patients. In fact, OCR’s new focus may very well include your practice. When we come back, I’ll tell you what dentists need to do to keep their patients’ private information private.

– Thanks for tuning in to the Patient Attraction Podcast™.

– I’m Colin Receveur.

– HIPAA violations can cost dentists time and money.

– Even worse, they can cost you the trust of your current patients and keep prospects from choosing your practice.

Last May, I covered how dentists could prepare for a possible audit by reviewing the audit protocols posted at

– If you haven’t reviewed those protocols, it’s more important than ever in light of OCR’s announcement on August 18.   

– OCR will now begin investigating data breaches affecting 500 people or fewer.

– And that could well include your practice.

– There are common-sense steps you can take to help prevent a data breach.

– In the event of a breach, it’s important to be able to demonstrate that you took proactive steps.

– First, make sure that ALL of your software is completely updated and the most recent security patches have been installed.

– Far too many practices get hacked because they failed to take this elementary precaution.

– OCR will not be understanding.

– Second, consider engaging an outside IT security firm to review your practice and recommend improvement to deter outside hacking.

– Make sure you implement those suggestions and keep thorough documentation.

– It’s almost impossible to completely secure an Internet-connected system, but if you make it hard enough for would-be hackers, they’ll go elsewhere.

– Third, have a written protocol for taking patient information out of the practice.

– Many data breaches occur when a laptop is stolen or left in a taxi while traveling.

– Make sure that anyone who will take protected information out the practice signs off on that policy.

– Fourth, take steps to secure your patient information inside your practice.

– That means avoiding accidentally exposing patient forms on a desk, and locking away information securely when the practice is closed.

– Finally, dispose of all unneeded confidential information properly.

– Data breaches are becoming more and more common as hackers switch to smaller targets of opportunity.

– Follow these 5 tips to make your practice less of a target.

– Until our next podcast, keep moving forward.