Data Privacy and Security Training for the Practice

As U.S.-based dental practitioners know, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and its implementing regulations require healthcare providers to train staff regularly on policies and procedures to safeguard patient information. HIPAA has been around for a while now, so most practices have some sort of training material available for staff to review.

The problem is that training materials can get boring if they are not updated periodically – and boring training materials will not “stick” with the folks subjected to the instructional topic. This is unfortunate because the risks to data privacy and security are increasing daily and an uninformed staffer can expose the practice in myriad ways. Further, as the dental industry progresses with the broad adoption of Internet-connected electronic health records, privacy and security issues will evolve and practitioners will need to ensure that staff is knowledgeable about the latest threats.

Need Something New to Spice Things Up a Bit?

We are always on the hunt for new and exciting ways to provide training on these important subjects. Recently, we happened upon a clever privacy and security training “game” created by the Department of Health and Human Services Office of the National Coordinator (ONC) for Health Information Technology’s Office of the Chief Privacy Officer (long title, I know). The ONC chose to offer its first free training module using an emerging learning technique called “gamification.” As the name implies, the learner progresses through the training module with a singular end-goal: win the game. The game is “won” when the learner makes the right privacy and security decisions in various scenarios within a medical practice. In this case, winning the game means the practice gets to expand and see lots of new patients. Losing the game produces the opposite result; the not-so-subtle implication is that if patients lose trust in the practice (due to privacy and security failings), they won’t come back.

Image Courtesy of ONC

This training module has many things to like: it’s free, up-to-date, relevant, brief and fun. The learner might even be mildly entertained by the quirky animation and the curious choice of overly dramatic background music. You can access the CyberSecure: Your Medical Practice game here.