Nowadays you have to make prudent decisions while purchasing a practice management system, a user-friendly EHR, and also while choosing the type of computer the practice staff will use. It is common for us to think of data backup in terms of a hard drive or an external storage. But it is important to note that you are dealing with sensitive personal health data and you should ensure that the data is not lost in case of an emergency. Since HIPAA compliant data backup is mandatory, it is a good idea to hire a data backup service.
First of all make sure the Data Backup Service Vendor is HIPAA compliant, which means they comply with HIPAA Security Rules. These rules require the vendor to have in place four safeguards. As per the Office of the National Coordinator for ONC (Health Information Technology) these safeguards help the medical practice to prevent some of the common security gaps which could lead to data loss and cyber-attack. The four safeguards are detailed as follows:
Best Practices for Data Backup and Recovery
The data backup service should have a data backup plan, plan for emergency-mode operation and a disaster recovery plan to comply with HIPAA. The combination of these three plans would reassure the capabilities, policies and procedures of the provider to restore health information if an emergency occurs. This will give peace of mind to the medical practice and result in uninterrupted work.
How a Backup Service Provider can offer more help
A good HIPAA compliant vendor can offer additional benefits such as offsite data storage in case of power blackout, natural disaster or malware attack. The use of automatic data backup leaves you with no worries about backing up data periodically at your office. Several vendors also provide cloud based data systems to store different versions of files at different locations to provide additional protection in physical form and this is known as ‘data redundancy’.