How do you prevent identity theft in your nursing practice? What proactive steps are you taking? If you haven’t implemented policies, procedures, and education for your personnel to prevent identity theft, your practice is vulnerable to identity thieves who specifically prey on professional practices. From unsecure IT systems to a general lax approach to protecting patients’ private information, your nursing practice is open to a multitude of identity theft breaches.
The financial and legal repercussions of a patient’s identity being stolen can be catastrophic. Your staff may be unwittingly putting your practice at risk on a daily basis. The most sensible, cost-effective approach is to train your staff on the many ways to prevent identity theft. Protect yourself. Protect your practice. Protect your patients. It starts with learning and then implementing strategic ways to prevent identity theft all throughout.
Your staff are your first defense against identity theft. Teach them critical identity theft prevention strategies:
1. Conduct employee background checks. First and foremost, you must carefully screen your staff during the hiring process. The identity theft prevention process you put into place will be wasted if you have an identity thief “in your team.”
2. Obtain patient photo identification. Other ways to prevent identity theft always involve always asking your patients for a photo ID, checking it carefully with the patient, and making a photocopy. Is it fake? Does the photo ID match the healthcare card? Is the name exactly the same? Is the address exactly the same?
3. Copy healthcare cards. If the patient doesn’t have the card but can rattle off the ID number, this is clearly a red flag. Most patients don’t have their healthcare ID number memorized.
4. Control accessible information. Another one of the most important ways to prevent identity theft is to make sensitive patient information available to specific staff. Password-protect all computers and, if possible, only give certain employees access to these information. Not everyone on your staff needs access to patients’ credit card information or other private data.
5. Prevent carelessness. Sadly, negligence is often the culprit. Some nurses may leave patients’ charts in plain view, forget to log out of the system after a transaction, or even send personal information on one patient to another in error.
Want to learn ways to prevent identity theft in your practice?
Start this in your own nursing unit. “Lunch 'n' Learn” presentations to teach your staff ways to prevent identity theft and protect your nursing practice. They come away with tried and true identity theft prevention strategies they can immediately implement to protect your practice, your patients, and themselves.
Schedule a “Lunch 'n' Learn” today. Visit The Identity Advocate online at www.TheIdentityAdvocate.com.