Essay on Healthcare Quality, Risk and Regulatory Compliance: Data Loss Prevention in Cleveland Hospital
Number of words: 1465
In healthcare organizations, there are tons of stored personal information of patients. This information ranges from payment details, social security numbers, insurance data, and health records and charts. One of the significant responsibilities of healthcare facilities is to ensure that their patients’ data are safe. As a result, it is essential to ensure cybersecurity in healthcare facilities. However, there have been many data breaches in hospitals, making it hard to ensure data safety. One healthcare facility that has been affected by data loss. Two years ago, it was reported that a third-party dealer had completed a mundane update on the university’s computer systems. Afterward, a hard drive from Cleveland hospital went missing. This drive contained patient’s information like social security numbers, information about treatment of patients, home addresses, dates of birth, insurance providers, and their names (Burdick, 2019). Therefore, Cleveland hospital lost a massive amount of its patients’ data to outside parties.
To prevent such occurrences, healthcare organizations are required to comply with the DLP regulatory requirements. This is a technology that helps to detect any data misuse or potential data theft. Many firms believe that applying DLP is merely enough; however, they are unaware that they are still vulnerable to data breaches (Premanick, 2021). Nonetheless, in healthcare facilities, the DLP regulatory compliance that can be used is the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPPA). The HIPPA comprises a set of rules that ensure the confidentiality of end-users’ data (Gaur et al., 2021). Since every health organization deals with crucial patient data, they should take procedural, physical, and network security measures. While this was unfortunate, Cleveland hospital could have employed significant regulative measures to prevent this incidence. There is a high probability that the hospital’s management failed to follow all the rules comprised in the HIPPA, and as a result, some of their crucial data was easily stolen.
Many damaging implications can arise from the loss of data within a healthcare organization. One most common consequence is that it negatively impacts the financial health of an organization. Loss of patient data can result in the economic crippling of a healthcare facility because it may lock out workers as the situation is being resolved. Laying off workers, in turn, may result in canceling patient appointments, ultimately resulting in revenue loss for the firm. Other than that, the healthcare organization may need to install more security measures to prevent a recurrence of a similar situation, and this may cost a significant percentage of their annual funds. Aside from the adverse financial impact on the organization, loss of data may ruin the facility’s reputation (Dameff, Pfeffer, & Longhurst, 2019). For instance, when the Cleveland Hospital Breach occurred, it is highly likely that most patients whose data was breached lost their trust in the hospital and looked elsewhere for healthcare services. Based on the fact that customers are vital shareholders within an organization, this aspect dramatically hinders the productivity of healthcare facilities. Overall, Since Cleveland Hospital lost a significant portion of its data to third parties, the severity of this issue cannot be ignored – the hospital was negatively impacted both in its financial and productivity aspects.
An environmental assessment of a healthcare organization entails touring and observing the workplace to comprehend the factors that may be beneficial or non-beneficial to an organization. In this case, an environmental assessment would entail analyzing the physical and functional aspects of the computers systems of Cleveland hospital. The best tools that can be used in this assessment include cyber security paid network tools like Nmap, Paros Proxy, Nikto, Metasploit, and WireShark. The five primary steps that can be used in these assessments are determining the risk assessment’s scope, identifying cybersecurity risks by identifying assets, threats, and what could go wrong; analyzing risks and determining their possible impacts; determining and prioritizing tasks; and lastly, documenting all risks (Meir, 2021). Through a thorough assessment of the computer systems, the organization can identify all the prevailing loopholes within the system and innovate ways that it can use to solve them to prevent a recurrence of the loss of data issue. In essence, they will apply more effective control measures to handle data security within the facility.
However, despite being negatively impacted, it is always crucial for an organization to find a more reliable solution to the problem. This may include handling the data loss issue at the moment or even implementing actions that will prevent a recurrence in the future. As a result, whenever faced with a problem of data loss, the healthcare organization will require a lot of resources to address the issue. The primary resource that it will need is sufficient financial resources. For instance, Cleveland hospital used a significant amount of money on equipment and personnel to identify the vulnerabilities and deploy security solutions. Also, conducting an extensive environmental assessment on computer networks is quite time and cost-intensive. After the evaluation, additional financial resources will be needed to implement the solutions to the identified loophole. It is worth noting that assessing cyber security is usually a continuous process done at regular intervals. Therefore, it is also essential to ensure that financial resources for regular assessments are kept aside to ensure the long run security of the organization.
Overall, after the loss of patients’ data, it is highly likely that the organization’s profitability and productivity will significantly decline. However, they can employ various strategies to ensure that the organization regains its stability and enhances its performance. First of all, the organization should develop plans to improve key areas that jeopardize healthcare operations. This may include coming up with multiple strategies to ensure cybersecurity. Also, the management should set concrete and measurable goals that are equitable, efficient, timely, patient-centered, safe, and effective (Daud et al., 2018). Lastly, it should create an executable plan to ensure that the set goals are achieved effectively and timely. This plan needs to consist of certain definitions for improvements and specific measures that can be utilized. The firm’s performance will be measured and monitored on a regular basis to assess if the implemented solutions are effective.
The major ethical principles that all healthcare organizations should adhere to are autonomy, fidelity, confidentiality, accountability, non-maleficence, beneficence, integrity, and justice. Cleveland hospital breached the ethical principle of privacy by losing the patient’s data since the patients’ information was accessed by third parties. Thus, they need to be accountable for their actions by taking care of the situation promptly. First, it would be essential to ensure that the patients whose data was lost are promptly informed after the incident since the third party can use their information for potential harm. Furthermore, while conducting the assessment, addressing the issue, and employing strategies that would result in enhanced productivity, it is essential to observe ethical standards that guide the organization’s activities. Overall, the Cleveland Hospital must adhere to a set of ethics. One ethical code that it can use in its activities is the ACHE Code of Ethics, which serves as a standard for members’ conduct. In doing so, the hospital will carry out its primary operations and achieve the organizational mission and vision without breaching the major ethical considerations in healthcare.
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