|How to Protect Clients in a Mobile World|
As a therapist, backing up your computer and maintaining a secure environment for your client's confidential information is essential. Theoretically this is a simple task, if you are working from a single computer and using a nightly back-up recording system that is housed in your office. Where security and back up become a little more complicated (and possibly unsecure) is when you decide you want to have remote access from your desktop to be able to do work on the go.
Let's start with the basics. If you use any type of digital format to manage and maintain your client confidential records, you must have a way to protect and retrieve that information in the event that your main storage medium becomes destroyed, crashes, is accidentally deleted, lost, or even stolen (unfortunately an increasing occurrence especially with today's laptops). A great backup system is invaluable and may one day save you from experiencing a huge disaster and one very big headache. With an encrypted backup system stored in a secure location, separate from your main storage medium, you can access and retrieve your files instantly, no matter what type of misfortune befalls your main storage medium.
Let's move on to remote access. If you are not using a web-based, securely encrypted, and automatically backed-up environment to maintain and manage your client's electronic health records, but you want to access your client files, you might be surprised to learn that accessing your desktop-based records from your iPad, tablet, or smartphone may not be secure. When you transmit information from one location or device to another, you may also be transmitting your client's confidential information. For example, you have set your computer at your office with a VPN (virtual private network) that allows you to access your desktop computer using the internet when you are away from your office. It may seem innocent enough because you are using your password to access your VPN, right? Doesn't accessing your VPN that is password protected mean your clients' confidential records are protected, too? No, not if you are logging on using your iPad or smartphone without adding any extra security protections to your device. iPads, tablets, and smartphones are not pre-programmed with these types of built-in security measures, so by accessing a VPN you could simultaneously be transmitting your confidential records.
With web-based, securely encrypted Practice Management Systems, you can access your clients' files on the go. Remote access is obtained easily and securely by logging in from your laptop, iPad, smartphone, tablet, or even your friend's iPad, without the hassle of ever having to set up a VPN to your office computer. In addition, you never have to worry about backing up your files ever again. Your confidential data is stored and backed up for you on secure and encrypted servers.
Also in this issue: Argonaut & Your Website: Tips to Make Your Practice Run More Smoothly!