Corban Technology Solutions Journal

Privacy and your clinic

Posted on January 28th 2019

By Stan Shaw, Founder, CTS

Stan was the Regional Lead for Vancouver at the Physician Information Technology Office (PITO), established through Doctors of BC. PITO assisted physicians in private practice by providing funding for family doctors and specialists, and deploying teams across British Columbia to help clinics successfully adopt and improve the use of electronic medical records (EMRs) .

Today is International Privacy Day, an event taking around the world at a time when awareness of how personal information is being used, and abused across the Internet is receiving increasing attention.

And tomorrow, here in British Columbia, is BC Aware Day. It's one of the biggest IT security awareness conferences of the year in the province, with events taking place throughout the week. The theme this year is focused on women in IT and security.

We have only to read about

- how social media has allowed for selective targeting of very personal data for advertising and political purposes,

- how massive data breaches is accessing personal data from hacked, or "pwned" websites.

- that sophisticated malware is appearing which can both act as both ransomware and a data stealing trojan

- and that in recent months, the health care industry has been the number one target of attacks around the world. realize that in 2019 personal health information is under attack, from many directions.

Regulatory health and government authorities, including Canada, the European Union and the United States are responding to these threats. They are not only tightening compliance around the world to existing policies and legislation, but are also to introducing more stringent standards, such recent Privacy Breach Notification requirements now being enforced across most provinces in Canada.

With this in mind, taking effective measures to help safeguard highly personal, sensitive health care information in your clinic are more important than ever.

The Doctors Technology office at Doctors of BC has an excellent guide called the Physician Office IT Security Guide that can help get you started. These measures complement the Doctors of BC IT Privacy Toolkit, designed especially for physicians in private clinics located across British Columbia.

Reviewing these guides is a great first step towards helping to create a safe environment to protect health care data in your clinic. The Doctors Technology Office is also sponsoring clinician-focused IT Security workshops across the Province, and are providing additional resources and materials to assist you.

In addition to all of this, we also have a set of clinic Best Practices articles with helpful tips, with more to come.

All of these resources are available at no cost, and can be very helpful towards building a culture of privacy and security that will help safeguard your clinic data. Celebrate International Privacy Day by thinking about what you are doing now, and, if you have not done so already, implement a privacy program for your clinic.