One of the most common complaints from your patients has nothing to do with their body, it is your website! You know your computer systems and website need a serious overhaul, but you have no idea how to do that yourself!
It is time to hire someone for an IT audit! Depending on the experience of the applicant, hiring a full-time IT auditor costs between $43,000 to $185,000 a year, but the benefits exceed the costs.
To help you understand what an IT auditor does, we put together a quick guide about the different categories addressed during an audit. Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about IT audits before you update your medical practice’s systems.
If it is been a while since your last audit (if ever), your IT equipment could use some attention. Dust, grime, and years of use make computers and other technology less efficient and problem-prone. If your equipment is more than a couple of years old, you may need to upgrade to newer, more energy-efficient equipment.
Most IT equipment can last around 3 to 5 years depending on the equipment quality and manufacturing. Sometimes it is worth spending a little more cash to ensure your IT equipment lasts as long as possible. That way you do not need to fork over more money to replace it as often.
Your auditor should check all the IT related equipment your medical practice uses. Some examples of this kind of equipment are computers, servers, peripherals, and any other. They will also make an inventory of all the equipment so you can keep track of your IT-related assets and when to order replacement equipment.
Web Security Audit
One of the most important aspects of information technology to stay on top of is the data security systems for your practice. In 2019, the American health sector reported over 382 cyberattacks costing over 2.5 billion dollars! That is even more than the previous year, so it is safe to say the risk is not going away any time soon.
To protect your medical practice’s files and your patient’s data secure and private, make sure to have airtight web security in place. Make sure you have password protection and end to end encryption in place. You should also look at physical security measures, like badges or codes, for doors leading to any computers or file storage.
Other issues to consider are the types of sites employees can visit on the company computers. Some dangerous websites can attack your systems and data with malware. Another thing to consider more lately is if an employee needs to access systems to work when they are away from the office. These situations leave your practice’s data vulnerable to potential cybercriminals.
IT Audits having to do with regulatory compliance
It is comforting for your patients to know that their personal information will not fall into the wrong hands. There are also laws in place to help ensure the security of protected information. Most people already know about the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPPA). There is also the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH) to protect data.
Since your practice uses both patient and financial information, you need to protect everything. Your auditor helps ensure your practice stays up to date and compliant with any legal regulations that apply to you.
It also helps to know about any potential laws/regulations that could affect your practice’s IT procedures. Getting a jump on new regulations can prevent you from scrambling to make changes later. Failure to plan could cost more time and money than had you planned for the new regulations.
Data recovery and backup plans
Another important section of the IT audit is to look at the way you back up your medical practice data and your ability to recover it in the case of a disaster. Every year, catastrophes, like hurricanes, fires, and floods, destroy homes and businesses. Not only does the building sustain damages, but so does any equipment inside.
Deadly weather and other crises can happen, no matter what precautions you take to prevent equipment damage or failure. To protect your medical practice and your patients, you should have a data recovery plan in place. That way, if the worst should happen, your practice can get up and treating patients again in no time!
If your servers become damaged and you lose data, you should have a backup plan. Having an offsite data backup allows you to recover all your files after you repair any physical damage. Be sure to send your data to the backup server often so you have the most common files stored for emergency recovery if/ when you need it.
Manage your practice’s technology… do not let it manage you!
Keep in mind that your auditor can help tailor your IT audits to make sure your practice’s systems run smooth, like butter, and secure as a vault. They can also keep you on an audit schedule to ensure your practice never falls behind again!
Technology evolves at the speed of light, so continuing to look at and adjust your medical IT systems ensures that your practice stays on the cutting edge. It is easy to miss a few updates here and there, then you realize that all your systems are all obsolete!
We hope you loved reading this article and that you learned a few things about IT audit categories. If you have questions about this article or if you are looking for experienced IT auditors for your practice, contact us today!
Sagacent Technologies offers technology management and support, including proactive/preventative maintenance, onsite and offsite data back-ups, network and security audits, mobility solutions, disaster planning, and emergency business resumption services. The company serves clients of 10 to 150 employees within the Silicon Valley region.