Password sharing a danger for online health systems

Password sharing is simple but dangerous.

There are the major breaches that lead to HIPAA violations, and then there are the smaller behaviors that may not seem dangerous but lead to bad results for all medical practitioners. One of these, highlighted in a recent article for Becker's Hospital CIO by Akanksha Jayanthi, is password sharing.

Citing information from a report from Medscape, Dyrda notes that while swapping passwords appears innocuous, especially in smaller practices, it causes problems later on. Jayanthi notes that this is particularly dangerous for electronic medical records, because sharing passwords makes it harder to track changes and hold individuals accountable. The same holds true for any other system that requires login information.

"The EHR records all documentation activity, including when someone accesses and edits the records, as well as who did it," Jayanthi writes. "If physicians share a password that is registered to one person, it can appear as though that one person was changing all the patient records."

Services that require passwords and aren't limited to medical use are also vulnerable. Gmail, one of the most popular email clients in use, was allegedly targeted by hackers recently, who posted the email addresses and passwords of 5 million users online in a Russian forum.

Though Google has denied that any security has been compromised, the incident should be seen as a warning. It's not uncommon for those outside of the healthcare industry to use the same password for different accounts: if so, all it takes is one of those accounts being hacked to cause problems.

All internet users have to worry about privacy and security, but medical practices have the additional concern of HIPAA to factor into their activities. HIPAA compliance services make it easier for health entities to protect identities.

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