Safeguarding Patient Data on a Shared Dental Office Computer
Using shared office computers can be convenient and is necessary for us to do our work. But there are risks involved, so protect client data with these five safety tips.
Avoid prying eyes
Keep patient information safe from prying eyes within the office and also prying eyes on the Internet.
Within the office:
- When the patient is waiting for care, can she see information on your computer screen about other patients?
- Can she hear you talk about other patients (prying ears)?
On the Internet:
- When you transfer patient information between offices, are you doing it according to office policy?
- Do you do everything you can to stop patient information from mixing with personal information?
Lock your computer before walking away
If you lock your computer, then you know it is secure while you are away. A quick way to lock your computer is to press the Windows Key and the L-key on your keyboard at the same time. Try it.
- What is an appropriate amount of time you can be away from your computer without locking it?
- What should you do if you notice someone else walked away from their computer without locking the screen?
Log out of Dentrix before switching operatories or finishing for the day
It is okay to share computer accounts, but we don’t share Dentrix accounts. If your office is sharing Dentrix accounts, raise your hand and get it changed.
- What would happen if we didn’t log out of Dentrix and someone gained access to your computer?
- What could they see or do?
Don’t install software that hasn’t been approved by the office manager
RedEase Microdefense does everything it can to keep your computers safe. If you use them as intended, online browsing and email is safe. However, if you download and install software from the Internet that isn’t meant for your computer, you can introduce viruses or spyware into the office. The most common way this happens is when someone receives a virus by email and they open it. If you think you have a virus, call RedEase immediately. The sooner RedEase knows about it, the less damage it will do.
- Spyware can even read our keystrokes and can send information about passwords, credit card numbers and other private information to cyber hackers.
Avoid using shared office computers to check personal email and to do personal banking
Checking personal email, doing personal banking and other personal and private computer activities on work computers increases the number of places computers can get viruses. We can reduce our risk of getting computer viruses by only using them for their intended purposes. The most common issues in Dental offices are when a computer user logs into their personal email on a shared office computer and doesn’t log out. It doesn’t seem like a big deal, but remember, the next person to use that computer has access too.
There are over 590,000 computers with patient information on them in the Canadian healthcare industry.
When data is breached, it costs businesses an average of $153 per record to repair relationships. Healthcare-specific numbers aren’t publicly reported throughout Canada, but in 2017, breaches cost Canadian business in general over a $100 million. (Source: IT World Canada, June 2017)