The modern medical facility, whether it is a large hospital or a small doctor's office, relies heavily on computer technology, electronic equipment, and data to carry out the everyday tasks associated with caring for patients. When most people think of data protection, they think about how the data should be protected and secured while still in use. However, once a piece of technical equipment reaches the end of its functional life, all that data is still buried on hard drives, memory chips, and systems. As the owner of a medical office, it is crucial that you understand why electronic destruction is an important process of recycling or eliminating this equipment.
Criminals can use data on devices and hard drives to take advantage of patients.
An old computer may look useless to you because it won't even power on, but in the eyes of a criminal, an old computer from your medical office can be incredibly valuable. They can easily retrieve data from specific computer equipment components and use it for things like:
- filing false tax returns in a patient's name
- applying for lines of credit in a patient's name
- tracking down your patients or harassing them
Data breaches can lead to huge fines and lawsuits.
In the event that the data about your patients falls into the wrong hands, it could mean widespread problems for every patient you have on file. In situations where there are many patients affected, you could easily be faced with a class-action lawsuit for not having the confidential information erased from your equipment before disposal. Likewise, you could be facing fines relative to HIPAA violations for not properly protecting your patients' personal information.
One small data breach could cost you your reputation and business.
One small piece of equipment from your office could contain hundreds of names, addresses, and billing profiles for your patients. If even one of those tidbits of information falls into the wrong hands, your entire practice could be at risk. Not only could a breach of personal information leave you with enormous costs in fines, but this could also leave your medical office looking much less trustworthy to other potential patients.
Before you toss out that tablet, PC, or laptop, make sure you are working with the right people to clear all sensitive information. Contact an electronic equipment recycling center like NILO TECH ECYCLING to find out more about data destruction processes that they use for medical facilities.