Community healthcare board members play a pivotal role in steering their organization toward a healthier future. However, managing the board — from coordinating meetings to ensuring secure access to confidential information — can be complex and time-consuming. The solution to these challenges lies in board management software solutions, which are reshaping how community healthcare boards access and handle vital information.
This blog post explores the digital transformation of healthcare governance, showing how software can empower board members, streamline processes, and, ultimately, enhance patient care.
Healthcare Data Is Sensitive Data
By necessity, healthcare organizations must safeguard a wide range of sensitive data for thousands of patients, and volunteer boards must be able to access key data to lead the organization without compromising patient privacy.
Organizations with large amounts of data attract hackers, which is one reason why the healthcare industry ranked third on a list of industries with the most weekly cyberattacks in 2022. Furthermore, healthcare compliance and regulations are increasing due to such issues as technological advances, fraud prevention, privacy concerns and new drug approvals, to name a few.
Why Healthcare Boards Need the Right Governance Software
We can’t emphasize the importance of data governance strongly enough, especially in the healthcare industry, where data is being used for a variety of purposes every day.
The term data governance was established to describe how organizations collect and utilize data. Evan Rawston, KPMG Global Healthcare D&A Lead, describes it this way: “Strong data governance ensures that the right information, of the right quality, is available to the right person, for the right purpose, at the right time.”
While Rawston’s description of data governance explains the concept in simple terms, there are many challenges in implementing effective data governance practices.
These are some of the challenges facing governance professionals in providing access to data for board members:
- Balancing Access and Security: Finding the right balance between providing board members with the necessary data for effective governance, and ensuring the security and confidentiality of patient information
- Data Privacy Compliance: Navigating the complex landscape of data privacy regulations, such as HIPAA, while granting access to volunteer board members
- Sensitive Information Handling: Ensuring that volunteer board members understand the gravity of handling sensitive information and adhering to privacy policies, especially for those who may not have a healthcare background
- Need-to-Know Basis: Limiting board members’ access to data on a need-to-know basis to avoid unnecessary exposure to sensitive data
- Limited Technical Knowledge: Educating board members about data security risks and best practices, as some may lack technical knowledge
- Training and Education: Providing ongoing training and education to board members on data security and privacy matters, which can be resource-intensive and may require a significant time commitment
- Access Control Complexity: Managing access controls and permissions for multiple board members with varying roles and responsibilities.
- Communication Challenges: Ensuring secure communication channels are used for sharing sensitive information with board members, especially when they are not on-site
- Data Retention and Destruction: Ensuring board members are familiar with data retention and destruction policies, and that they adhere to them.
- Incident Response Preparedness: Preparing for and responding to potential data breaches or security incidents involving board members’ access, which can require careful planning and coordination.
- Secure Communication: Ensuring communication methods for sharing sensitive information are completely secure to reduce the risk of data breaches
- Remote Access: Ensuring secure access and full encryption when board members need remote access to data
- Recordkeeping: Maintaining detailed records of board members’ data access and interactions with sensitive information, which may be needed for compliance purposes and investigations
The overall challenge lies in striking the balance between ensuring patient confidentiality and compliance while providing boards with access to the data they need to oversee the organization and its finances, engage in strategic planning, and make informed and responsible decisions.
Having access to needed information means better, more data-driven decisions, ultimately contributing to the organization’s overall success and fulfillment of the mission.
Cybercriminals continue to attack the healthcare industry with impunity and it’s costing healthcare organizations more and more. Download our guide on Protecting ePHI on Your Board Software to boost data security in the board room.
Best Practices for Data Access
As challenging as the task may be, there are lots of strategies healthcare organizations can use to ensure responsible data access.
Best practices for the industry can guide your way:
- Establish a data governance framework. The framework should include clear policies and procedures for how to manage data and keep it secure.
- Implement robust access controls and monitoring systems.
- Learn where the organization stores protected health information (PHI).
- Clearly define the roles and responsibilities of who can access or manage data.
- Monitor and audit who accessed data.
- Approach data management with a “least privilege access,” which means users only access data if it’s necessary for their responsibilities.
- Lock down stale data and delete it if possible, without interfering with compliance responsibilities.
- Thoroughly train employees and board members in data governance policies and procedures.
Lastly, leverage your internal resources as needed. For example, collaboration with IT and compliance teams can also help in navigating the complexities of data access while ensuring patient data remains secure and confidential.
Why Board Management Software?
BoardEffect is designed with the unique needs of volunteer boards in mind. It is a secure board solution that offers controlled access to board-related materials for healthcare organizations while ensuring data security.
BoardEffect allows your healthcare board members to get the right information at the right level of access. The platform offers granular controls that puts your board in the driver’s seat with who can access data so you can rest assured that only those who need data can access it.
Additionally, you can gather information effortlessly to create planning reports and combine them with other related reports for board members to access as they need. Our board management solution is also valuable for reviewing and updating access policies and procedures such as your data retention and destruction policies as you adapt to changing regulations, technologies, and organizational needs.
Lastly, your meeting materials and communications will be securely contained within the system, eliminating worries over leaking sensitive information. Volunteer board members can access documents with a simple keyword search and other tools to assist in task tracking, decision making, and signing documents, all within the BoardEffect platform.
Request a demo today to learn more about how BoardEffect can help your healthcare organization manage data access.