How often do you think about the number of times each day your therapy clinic’s digital practices could be putting someone at risk for a data security breach?
We know that’s a scary thought, but there’s a good chance you aren’t aware of the level of sophistication and determination of today’s cyberthieves. Your therapy clinic could be taking unintentional risks with patients’ personal data. It may seem like cyber security is something only tech companies should care about. Yet, sharing data is part of participating in online services, and protecting that data is now the responsibility of all companies, including therapy practices like yours.
The good news? There are many measures you can take to advance data security for your therapy clinic. Multi-Factor Authentication is one of the most effective of these measures.
What is Multi-Factor Authentication?
Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA), sometimes called Two-Factor Authentication, is the process of verifying your identity when you try to log in to an online account. You may already have this process set up for online banking, phone apps containing sensitive information, or any other type of digital account. MFA helps to confirm a person’s identity when they’re using an unrecognized device. It can also be required each time someone logs in, no matter the device. When you’re asked to provide a code that a company automatically sends to your phone in order to access an account, that’s MFA in action!
While it may feel like an inconvenience sometimes, MFA adds a layer of security to our digital lives that is more important than ever.
Using Multi-Factor Authentication to Ensure Data Security in a Therapy Clinic
A therapy clinic is a data-driven environment. You store Protected Health Information (PHI) in various formats that must be managed according to strict HIPAA protocols. As you take on new patients and old ones cycle out of your practice, your responsibilities grow and change. Still, data security must remain a high priority if you want to keep your clinic open and avoid potentially huge penalties.
One way to take care of these heavy responsibilities in an automated way is to put Multi-Factor Authentication in place in as many areas of your business as possible. Let’s talk about why.
The following are five reasons we say it’s crucial to use MFA for data security in any therapy clinic:
- MFA helps your employees and patients avoid identity theft. As unpleasant as it may be to imagine, identity theft is a constant threat these days. One of the most lucrative activities for cybercriminals is selling personal information, and stolen login credentials are the most common cause of a cyberattack. Cloud-based storage has made this even easier. According to a 2019 report from Microsoft, 55% of U.S. businesses in 2018 experienced at least one successful phishing attack. Microsoft concluded that 99.9% of these attacks could be blocked by MFA. Identity theft can happen in almost any industry, and healthcare – including its therapy branch – is a particularly vulnerable one! In the wrong hands, your personal data can be misused in endless ways. If you’ve ever experienced identity theft, you know it can take years to recover from the widespread fraud that can occur (especially if you weren’t aware of it for awhile).
- Your clinic can improve its overall data security with better identity checks. No matter what type of software you choose to use, opting in to MFA makes it safer for you, your admins, and therapists to use. The more pieces of data a user has to provide, the more secure a their details will be. Even if someone knows one piece of information about you, such as a phone number or date of birth, that won’t be enough to access your online account if it’s protected with MFA. Things like the one-time text message codes we mentioned above are specially generated just for you in that moment, and they expire after a short period of time.
- You can more easily maintain your clinic’s HIPAA compliance. While HIPAA compliance has always been of utmost importance, it’s even more so in today’s remote-focused environment. As of 2021, many therapy providers are working remotely and taking huge risks by using unsecure telehealth practices and platforms. A culture of HIPAA compliance is key to protecting your therapy clinic in the event of a compliance audit, and MFA is one way to ensure this culture is alive and well in your clinic.
- MFA is becoming standard practice. Since we conduct so many elements of our personal lives online, many people expect high-quality security procedures to be standard. In our opinion, best practice would be to use MFA for all business-related accounts on the back end. This includes your business bank accounts, billing portal logins, etc. We also advise opting in or requiring MFA for all staff and patient accounts, including EMRs, credentialing portals, and patient portals.
- It’s relatively simple to implement MFA across your business. Because we are accustomed to MFA in our personal lives, it’s become readily available for all kinds of software. Setting up MFA is often a matter of simply opting in, so mandating its use for anyone connected to your therapy clinic is easy.
How to Implement Multi-Factor Authentication for Your Therapy Practice
Even if you agree with the necessity of MFA, you may still find it overwhelming to actually use it in the ways we recommend.
TheraPlan is in the business of maximizing efficiency and security for everyone working in a therapy clinic. That means owners, staff, and therapists alike. We see how transformational secure, accessible EMR software can be in a clinic’s daily operations and long-term success. So, we also feel we have a responsibility to guide you towards complementary, forward-thinking solutions.
That’s why we are always improving upon TheraPlan’s built-in security features. In fact, we’re currently in the process of developing add-on MFA options for our users!
After reading our reasons to use MFA, we think you’ll agree that data security is non-negotiable for your therapy clinic. Contact us to see how to set up a solid data security system that works for you, your staff, and your patients.