With the increasing advancement of technology and digitization, private health information (PHI) is more vulnerable than ever to potential breaches of security. Private health information is considered sensitive and confidential, making it imperative to take necessary measures to ensure that it is kept secure, particularly in this day and age of cybercrime.
What is PHI?
PHI is defined as any information about an individual’s health status, medical condition, or medical history that can be used to identify that person. Examples of PHI include names, contact information, social security numbers, healthcare payments, diagnosis, and treatment information. It is usually sensitive information and needs to be kept confidential at all times.
Ways to Protect Your Private Health Information
1. Secure passwords
Passwords are the first line of defense against unauthorized access to stored PHI. It is of utmost importance to have a strong password that cannot be easily hacked. A strong password usually includes a mix of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols. You should not share your password with anyone and avoid using the same password for multiple accounts.
2. Stay alert online
It’s crucial to keep your PHI private when online. Avoid sharing your personal identifiable information (PII) like name, social security number or insurance policy number online. Also, be mindful when sharing PHI over messaging platforms like email or text. Use secure and encrypted messaging platforms to share PHI information.
3. Keep devices secure
Mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets are popular targets for cybercrime. Make sure to lock your devices with strong passwords and use encryption tools to protect your PHI from unauthorized access. Do not leave your device in public places or share it with anyone you do not know or trust.
4. Use secure Wi-Fi networks
Secure Wi-Fi networks are essential in protecting your PHI at all times. Avoid using public Wi-Fi networks for accessing PHI. Use private and secure Wi-Fi networks that require passwords to connect.
5. Update software regularly
Outdated software and operating systems can have security vulnerabilities that hackers can exploit. Ensure that you update all software, including anti-virus software, frequently to stay protected against cybercriminals.
In conclusion, protecting your PHI is critical, and everyone should take necessary measures to keep it secure. Make sure to follow these tips and stay vigilant for any suspicious activity. If you suspect your PHI has been breached, report it immediately to your healthcare provider, your insurance company, or the relevant authorities.