September 21, 2018

How email automation and AI-powered analytics reduce Privacy Officer workload

Teresa Burns

For many hospital systems, handling a stratified-risk privacy operation is a time-consuming process. Depending on what type of privacy posture the organization is using, this can lead to an even greater influx of notifications, especially for less nefarious cases such as family member snooping or self-lookups. Due to a lack of resources, Privacy Officers either spend extensive amounts of time following up on the large volume of lower-risk violations or ignore them in favor of pursuing higher-risk cases. Both of these scenarios result in increased liability and inefficiency, and only target a small portion of the system-wide privacy violations that are occurring at any one time. Email automation can help Privacy Officers re-educate the hospital workforce, reduce their workload and increase their efficiency.

Re-educate hospital workforce

Email automation is used in many ways across almost every industry. Everyone engaging with digital content has experienced email automation, most notably the subsequent emails that are sent after someone has downloaded content or submitted an email address to learn more about a product. When that type of automation is combined with the ability to audit every access to patient data, it becomes a highly effective tool for healthcare privacy offices using AI-powered data analytics.

In response to the occurrence of privacy violations, it has become common practice to re-educate the workforce on hospital and federal policies as an effective way to reduce repeat violations. A recent Breach Barometer report found that re-education works, with only 21% of privacy violations being repeat offenders in Q1 2018. When an AI-powered analytics platform audits every access to patient data, leveraging automated emails can streamline the necessary follow-up from the privacy office, allowing violations to be resolved quickly and keeping those lower-risk violations from falling through the cracks.

Reduce workload and increase efficiency

Email automation provides privacy offices the ability to resolve the majority of their lower-risk privacy violations efficiently, reducing their manual workload. This also allows them to focus on higher-risk cases that require a more in-depth investigation. Email automation has also shown to greatly reduce the chance of repeat offenses. Users who did not receive an automated email had a 66.57% chance of becoming a repeat offender, compared to a 3.03% chance for those that did receive the automated email. Repeat offenders typically require more thorough mitigation than first-time violators to ensure violations do not continue. Diminishing repeat offenses further reduces manual workloads for privacy offices, allowing efficient teams to return their focus to organizational priorities and broadening the scope of compliance for the entire hospital system.

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