Electronic Health Records (EHR)

What are Electronic Health Records (EHR)?

Electronic Health Records (EHR) are digital healthcare records used by healthcare providers that contain a patient or a population’s data. These records contain personal identifying information (PII) and personal health information (PHI), such as medical history, including diagnoses, conditions, treatments, appointments, medication, allergies, immunizations, test results, imaging assets, and other health-related information. Healthcare providers should usually access EHRs on HIPAA or HITRUST-compliant secure networks and IT systems.

EHRs help providers provide better care by streamlining updates and access to care management programs. The aggregation of individual patient data into broader populations also allows the healthcare industry to identify trends and design new and innovative treatments.

How are Electronic Health Records (EHR) Used by Healthcare Professionals

In 1996, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) was developed to protect patient health information. Then in 2010, many providers moved to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) to incorporate Electronic Health Records (EHRs) into their operations. Today, EHRs house vast amounts of PHI.

Despite the native security controls in EHRs, managing secure health records access for tens of thousands of providers, patients, and associates at once is a significant challenge. When improperly managed, this can negatively affect patient care.

Healthcare has traditionally lagged behind the latest technology for patient privacy and security, primarily due to legacy systems that rely on a mix of disconnected point solutions. Another reason technology isn’t always the top priority is that providers tend to spend more money on front-line workers such as physicians and nurses to help ensure optimal care. As a result, applications often have separate access management interfaces that aren’t integrated into an Identity and Access Management (IAM) or federated login (SSO) system. The administrative overhead of adding, removing, and suspending these accounts — in conjunction with ensuring effective audit and compliance logging — is cumbersome, adding an additional burden on overloaded hospitals and healthcare organizations.

The Challenge of Cloud-Based Electronic Health Records

In recent years the rate at which healthcare providers are moving Electronic Health Records to the cloud has accelerated, and cloud-based EHRs now account for most of the market share. Cloud-based EHRs can’t effectively balance patient privacy across diverse user populations and data storage locations alone. HIPAA requires that healthcare organizations apply risk-based controls consistently and continuously to remain in compliance.

To prevent accidental or malicious privilege misuse of EHRs, organizations need additional support to maintain the principle of least privilege for transient care providers, labs, clinics, and specialists. Healthcare providers need deep visibility into how access is currently assigned and contextual information to evaluate access requests for risk to ensure HIPAA compliance. Streamlining the process by automatically approving low-risk requests while escalating higher-risk requests for further review is essential and reduces administrative overhead.

Electronic Health Record system providers such as Epic or Cerner benefit from integrated identity solutions that provide fine-grained entitlements and controls to enforce risk-based access policies. These tools help providers meet regulatory compliance and industry standards. Integrated Identity Governance and Administration (IGA) solutions log and monitor the state of applied controls and access. Automated tracking of access data streamlines the audit process and ensures continuous and consistent application of access controls.

Identity Governance and Administration (IGA)’s Business Impact

Since the beginning of April 2022 alone, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has reported at least 125 healthcare-related data breaches in the United States. Hackers stole huge volumes of protected health information (PHI), which sells for $250 per record on the Dark Web. Nefarious hackers can use stolen health data to create false medical claims, phony prescriptions, targeted phishing campaigns, and multiple identities.

In the healthcare industry, the average cost of a breach is as high as $408 per record. And this doesn’t consider the impact on an organization’s reputation, the cost of additional regulatory oversight, and remediation. Failing to provide patients with access to their health records in a timely manner can also evoke penalties. Insider threats are also of concern in the healthcare industry. Forty-eight percent of reported EHR breaches stem from the inside. Improper access to patient health records can result in significant federal and state fines. It’s no surprise that IBM Security places the cost of healthcare breaches at $7.13 million, the highest in any industry.

Saviynt & Electronic Health Records

EHRs & IGA are a Winning Combination

An IGA solution that integrates with major EHR providers enables healthcare organizations to embrace the benefits of cloud transformation without sacrificing security or compliance. Providers gain in-depth insights into how rights and access for users are assigned. Using risk-based analytics, they can manage requests and quickly deliver access without sacrificing security. By consistently monitoring the environment, they can ensure they are adhering to regulations and meet auditors’ needs, providing evidence of continuous compliance.

Built on Saviynt’s industry-leading Enterprise Identity Cloud (EIC) architecture, Saviynt Healthcare Identity Cloud (HIC) merges critical identity and access management capabilities into one integrated platform that protects people, data, and networks. HIC empowers organizations to modernize their identity program and ensures a user-friendly experience, streamlined administration, and access controls that help clinicians focus on what matters most: providing excellent patient care.

Empower the Workforce

Natively integrated with mission-critical healthcare platforms like Epic and Cerner, HIC is ready to run with the apps and infrastructure healthcare organizations rely on daily. Reduce application onboarding times by up to 90% with an extensive set of pre-built templates, a robust control library, and an intuitive wizard that helps users become productive on day one.

Drive Efficiency

By centralizing all identity management, Saviynt HIC reduces operational challenges by matching and merging identities to enable “one identity for life.” It also streamlines third-party and temporary staff identity management as they join, move, and leave the organization — while lowering the costs and remediation times when access issues arise.

Secure Patient, Employee, and Organizational Data

Saviynt HIC can help move organizations towards a zero-trust ecosystem, no matter where they stand today. By providing a 360° view of all applications and identities (even shadow IT), Saviynt analytics with artificial intelligence and machine learning allow deeper insights into how identities are acting throughout the environment and help establish a roadmap for strengthening controls.

The platform also integrates with other security tools (such as SIEMs, CASBs, etc.) to provide holistic access visibility and works seamlessly across the application ecosystem to define SoD controls.

Saviynt HIC also provides privileged access management (PAM) with “break glass” capabilities for just-in-time access and the monitoring and reporting needed to maintain regulatory compliance without impacting services.

Streamline Compliance

With out-of-the-box controls that map to HIPAA, HITRUST, PCI, and other regulations, Saviynt Healthcare Identity Cloud helps you protect sensitive data, deliver continuous regulatory compliance and deliver robust reporting for audits. Organizations can integrate HIC with learning management systems (LMS) to automate controls based on training compliance (i.e., HIPAA training).

As the only cloud identity platform that unifies identity governance and administration (IGA), application access governance (AAG), and privileged access management (PAM) into one business-ready solution, the benefits of Saviynt’s HIC solution suite can empower healthcare organizations to embrace their digital transformation journey with confidence.

Get the capabilities needed to protect sensitive ePHI, maintain compliance, and cultivate a robust security posture — all while embracing innovation and the benefits of the cloud.

Saviynt’s Healthcare Identity Cloud helps modern enterprises scale cloud initiatives and solve the toughest security and compliance challenges in record time. The platform brings together identity governance (IGA), third-party access governance (TPAG), granular application access, cloud security, and privileged access (PAM) to secure the entire business ecosystem and provide a frictionless user experience. The world’s largest brands trust Saviynt to accelerate digital transformation, empower distributed workforces, and meet continuous compliance, including BP, Western Digital, Mass Mutual, and Koch Industries. For more information, please visit saviynt.com.

Read more about the future of healthcare security in Future-Proofing Healthcare Security.

Schedule a Demo

Ready to see our solutions in action?

Saviynt named a Gartner® Peer Insights™ Customers’ Choice: IGA Learn More >