While technology affords us many ways to gather, organize, and distribute information, it can be challenging to keep that information out of the hands of those who shouldn’t have access to it. In a hospital setting, it can be even more challenging due to privacy laws and and regulatory standards. At RML Specialty Hospital, the Information Services Department works hard to ensure safety and privacy of all patient information and medical records.
“Cyber security is of the utmost importance for us,” said Todd Prellberg, Director of Information Services for RML Specialty Hospital. “We use technology in so many areas of the hospital, from patient records and insurance information to computerized ventilators and IV pumps. We can’t ever get comfortable; we continually monitor our systems for possible threats.”
Just like on a home computer, network security is necessary to avoid problems like viruses, malware, and phishing. “We work hard to educate our staff,” added Prellberg. “We have protocols in place so they know how to respond to things like unsolicited emails with embedded links. We’ve built walls around all our devices to prohibit outside access.”
RML’s Information Services staff is responsible for varying levels of security. “We offer support from a “help desk” standpoint, but we also have analysts who support our medical staff,” said Prellberg. “We’re required to meet minimum regulatory standards, and that dictates how information is made available in our systems. For example, nurses can access a patient’s health record, including lab results and vitals, while billing staff can access financial information and billing codes, but not lab results. Our software is structured to offer the highest level of security for patient information. We’re continually auditing and reviewing our systems so they’re as up-to-date as possible.”
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