Dental practices must abide by HIPAA regulations to ensure patient data is secure and safe on their dental IT systems and avoid possible legal complications and issues that arise. They have a comprehensive checklist that covers everything from data protection to data breach alerts and measures to put in place to mitigate those. Although introduced in 1996, the regulations have been amended and updated multiple times since.

Many dental practices have had their IT systems for extended periods, which likely means that your current system will have gaps and compliance issues. Some of the ways to identify whether your older dental IT infrastructure is HIPAA compliant include:

There are gaps within the security protocol

Your dental IT system needs stringent security protocols to ensure that they are necessary for protecting patient information and data. It’s a multi-faceted process that includes not just a preliminary evaluation and risk assessment, planning, and evaluation but also restricting physical access to information systems and health information stored on them. You also need to implement measures that guard your data against unauthorized access to or use of electronic records and various policies and procedures for protecting electronic patient health information.

Hard drives and data are not encrypted

Seven million unencrypted data records are breached each day across the globe. This often includes patient and health information from variable sources that go unprotected and exposed, vulnerable to misuse and abuse. Your servers need to be upgraded and ensure that hard drives and all data records are encrypted for greater protection and security. You can invest in HIPAA-compliant blockchains that help secure and encrypt records more seamlessly.

An empty dental office with medical equipment set up.

Your IT structure doesn’t use access control

One of the gravest mistakes that dental practice IT teams make is a lack of access control. Regardless of their professional role or designation, anyone can access systems that store health information and data, which inevitably compromises privacy and security. While data access control is challenging, even using the latest technology, having a secure IT infrastructure can help you keep track of who accesses patient information, clinic records, and other sensitive data through user IDs, restricted access, and verification methods.

Breach notifications aren’t implemented

HIPAA regulations mandate breach notifications to anyone whose personal data has been compromised, including patients. Your system needs to send out alerts urgently to anyone whose leaked data could threaten their safety and well-being while having procedures in place to inform others on a non-urgent, timely basis.

If your older dental IT infrastructure fails to meet all HIPAA regulations and requirements, it’s time to upgrade to a system that does. Our company uses a powerful audit tool to identify inconsistencies with your current dental IT system and see where it fails to comply with HIPAA, GDPR, and NIST regulations, providing you with alternatives for more secure, up-to-date general IT solutions for your dental practice.