3 ways to protect your health information online
Keeping your private health information secure is critical not only to you and your family, but also to your health care plan, health care providers, and the government. If medical identity thieves access your personal information, they could try to get medical treatment, surgery, or prescription drugs using your health coverage and medical records.
How the law helps protect you
The Privacy and Security Rules listed under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) are the main Federal laws that protect your health information. HIPAA safeguards your health information when it’s held by health care providers, health plans, and organizations acting for them.
How we help protect you
Kaiser Permanente is dedicated to protecting the privacy and confidentiality of your health information. We have policies, procedures, and systems in place to keep your electronic health information secure.
Medical records and patient information are stored in areas with secure access. In addition, all sensitive information is protected by network security safeguards, such as firewalls, antivirus software, and passwords.
We also provide training and resources to empower our employees and physicians to protect your privacy and help prevent fraud and identity theft. We actively monitor our systems and operations to detect signs of misconduct and are committed to taking corrective action as needed.
Where patients need to protect themselves
There are some kinds of health information that are best protected by you. This includes information that you:
- Store in a mobile app or on a mobile device
- Share over social media or in online communities, such as health-related message boards
- Keep in a personal health record (PHR) not offered through a health plan or provider covered by HIPAA
How you can help keep your information secure
Here are steps you can take to help keep your personal health information secure:
- Use a strong password.
- Avoid easy or obvious passwords, like family names or birthdays.
- Use a combination of letters, numbers, and special characters (where possible).
- Update your password often.
- Keep your password secret and don’t share it with anyone.
This last rule includes official-looking emails. Remember that most health coverage and care providers won’t email you to ask for your password. If you get a message asking for your password, call your insurer’s member services or customer service number to notify them.
- Think before you share on social media.
- Post only information that you don’t mind being public.
- Don’t assume that any online forum is private or secure.
- If you’re posting health information, use privacy settings to limit access.
- Remember that information posted to the web can stay there forever.
- Protect your mobile device.
- Research mobile apps before you download and install them.
- Use only trusted sites and sources.
- Read the app’s privacy notice and terms of service to make. sure you know how they’ll treat your information.
- Consider using encryption software on your device.
- Install and activate remote disabling and/or remote wiping of your device. This will let you lock or delete data if your device is lost or stolen.
By keeping your personal health information safe, you can go a long way toward protecting yourself, as well as your health coverage and care providers.