Security Basics (Part Six) UNDERSTANDING PHYSICAL SAFEGUARDS

Posted by Thomas Davon on

There is a great need that health care providers understand what physical safeguards really means. It is one way for organizations to ensure the safety of the information in their keep. Physical safeguard is the first line of defense in creating data security against any form of threats. The more porous or weak your physical safeguard is, the more chances you give for thefts and access to Protected Health Information by unauthorized users. According to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) physical safeguards are physical measures, procedures and policies that are kept in place in order to protect every electronic information of those considered as Covered Entities (CE). Physical safeguard covers every standard that is aimed at protecting access controls to facilities, workstation security, and use of work stations, media control and device control. The practice that is required of every Covered Entity (CE) is to implement the stipulated physical safeguard standards for the electronic information systems in their facilities regardless of where the system is kept; in their facility or in another location outside their facility.

You might wonder why put so much in physical safeguard when there is already a rapid transition of data from tangible formats to digital formats? The fact remains that even digital data can be accessed through devices kept in a location. If these devices are accessed by the wrong persons, then the information in the device would be easily accessed. This is one major need for physical safeguard. Physical will help check against possible data breach. When some records are not well disposed, information can be exposed by so doing. If records containing Protected Health Information are not very well disposed, the health care organization will suffer a great loss if the record is found by a stranger. Disposing records with sensitive information in dumpster means risking the contents of the record to the knowledge of the public.  

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