Is your medical website secure? You probably understand why it’s important to have a secure site, especially when you’re dealing with sensitive medical information, but there are plenty of other reasons why cyber security is essential if you are providing medical care.
Patients put their lives in your hands. They trust you to provide the best care and look out for their well-being, and this goes beyond their bodies. They also want to know the information they share with you is secure. Securing your website and the information it contains is as important as protecting your patient’s medical privacy in your office.
These days, doctors’ websites are used for a variety of things: patients are able to schedule appointments, pay their bills, view test results… the list goes on and on. Securing the information you exchange with patient is crucial to maintaining their trust and ensuring your office is viewed as professional.
According to security experts, medical information is big business. Some believe it is more valuable to hackers than credit card information because it allows criminals to buy medical equipment and drugs for resale, and create fraudulent insurance claims. To avoid leaving your patients vulnerable, you must establish a secure system featuring SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) that encrypts patient data and ensures privacy.
Why is SSL one of the most important features you can add to your practice’s site?
Improves Trust with Patients
Patients are more aware today than ever before about their privacy rights and if they believe you are putting their medical information at risk, it’s going to affect your relationship. It’s your role to restore and build trust with your patients, and the last thing you need as you are working to do this is to expose your patients to a security breach. Not only is securing your site the right thing to do, it’s going to prove to your patients that you really care about their well-being and will do what it takes to protect their security.
Increases HIPAA Compliance within Your Site
All exchanges of information on your medical site, even something as simple as a comments form, should be encrypted with SSL technology. This ensures the data traveling through the internet is safe and, the system authenticates the receiving server to verify its identity, reducing the risk for information to be intercepted.
Keep in mind, not having a HIPAA compliant site can get you into trouble, not just within the medical field, but also within the civil and criminal court systems. SSL is an investment you won’t regret.
Boosts Website Conversions
You’ve invested a lot of time and money into your website, so you need it to convert site visitors to patients. The best way to ensure a high return-on-investment is to provide a secure site that establishes trust with visitors. Most people consider and verify site security before moving forward with a relationship with a medical provider. If a patient is reassured during his or her visit to your site, they are move likely to take that next step.
Increase PCI Compliance
If patients make bill payments or buy products or services on your site, you need to be sure their credit card information is secure. The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI-DSS) offers a guideline for businesses dealing with the major brand credit cards such as Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and Discover. They can help you implement security policies and online processes to protect breaches and cardholder data theft.
Credit card institutions can levy fines as punishment for merchants who are PCI noncompliant and increase the fines steadily. They can also levy fines if there is a data reach and those fines can legally be based on the amount of money stolen in a breach. These institutions also fine a merchant when a data breach occurs and base the fines off of the amount of cardholders affected by the breach.
One final reason to increase the security on your site? It makes your site more valuable to your marketing plan. Google places a high priority on user security and the search engine tends to emphasize sites that are doing it right. Here’s more information about HTTPS at Google.
Granted, improving your security alone isn’t going to get you to the top of the results, but it is going to make a difference, and since successful SEO is all about putting together all of the puzzle pieces, security needs to be a priority. And there’s speculation that the emphasis on SSL is only going to increase with time.
When patients see the small lock sign in the address bar when they visit your site, it makes a difference. It establishes trust and shows you take your obligation as a medical professional to protect your patients seriously. If you’d like to know more enhancing your website’s security, give us a call! We include SSL with our Website Management service.