The top 5 privacy pitfalls—and how to avoid them

September 9, 2014

There are so many things to pay attention to in your dental laboratory that it can be easy to overlook something that can have a huge impact: privacy. If you don't keep an eye on some common privacy pitfalls, it can put your whole business in jeopardy.

There are so many things to pay attention to in your dental laboratory that it can be easy to overlook something that can have a huge impact: privacy. If you don't keep an eye on some common privacy pitfalls, it can put your whole business in jeopardy.

Don't let that happen! Check out these top five privacy pitfalls, and how you can avoid them-it can help make sure your dental lab doesn't fall into some of these traps, protecting you, your business and your relationships with clients.

1. Not electronically guarding patient info

If you’ve gone all digital with cases you’re receiving from dentists, you’re no doubt enjoying the benefits of having the ability to immediately receive a case and conduct nearly instant case consultations with the clinician. But, electronic records and cases also bring new ways to breach privacy. It’s very easy to leave open a file on a computer that someone shouldn’t have access to, or on a screen that a patient or employee walking by might be able to see. Being able to take digital files everywhere on a mobile device may be convenient, but don’t forget that it makes it easier for other people to see something they perhaps shouldn’t.

Related: Top 4 Reasons to Keep Your Data in the Cloud

2. Using insecure email

If you’re not using a secure email service to ensure your email is encrypted and not vulnerable to outside readers, then your entire business is at serious risk of breaking privacy laws. Make sure your emails are secured, and don’t send anything that you don’t think should be read by others over common services like Gmail, Yahoo! or provider-based email.

3. Not having social media policies for staff

Facebook. Twitter. Pinterest. The list of social media options seems to grow by the day. And if you’re not careful, your staff may be using these tools in ways that can expose your lab to liabilities. They might accidentally release a patient’s name, or reveal enough about a case that an observer could guess the patient. Put a policy in place that either restricts social media in the workplace or eliminates it entirely.

4. Unprotected patient (physical) files

If you’re like many labs, you keep many files and purchase orders on hand in physical form. In general, this is fine (and prevents electronic security breaches) ... but what are you doing to keep those files safe? Even if you think the files aren’t confidential, chances are they at least include a patient name or some identifying photographs. Keep your files secure in a locked location and make sure that only those people who need to access them have that access.

Click here to read about the security information you NEED to know

5. Seemingly innocent collaboration

You probably have great relationships with peers in the lab world, either via electronic communication or face-to-face interactions. But be careful when you’re collaborating (especially casually online or via email) that you’re not accidentally revealing personal information about a patient to someone who doesn’t need to know about it. 

Photo credit: Thinkstock Images/Getty Images