At the Healthcare Billing and Management Association's (HBMA) Fifteenth Annual Spring Meeting at Disney's Contemporary Resort, top rated speaker, Randy Johnston spoke to a record attendance providing outstanding computer security and technology advice at his "Computer Abuse in the Medical Practice" session.

Sherry Dumford, CHBME and past HBMA president, said, "Randy helped us understand practical techniques to protect our hardware systems and to secure our data management.  He helped us get a handle on the risks in our office as it relates to hardware, software and interconnectivity."

"Virus attacks are the second largest source of the greatest financial losses in U.S. companies," says Johnston, technical advisor for HBMA. "The impact of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act on information security continues to be substantial, too."

Ramifications of security failures not only costs companies in major dollars, but also loss of reputation, loss of productivity, loss of client/customer relations, and dollars spent in recovery can be significant.

Some physical security measures Johnson recommended are:

--Locks on patient record and administrative areas,
--Security cameras on reception and outside doors,
--Computers locked down with security cables,
--Glare filers installed on monitors for unidirectional viewing,
--Lock the server room at all times,
--Have Backup drives and tapes encrypted,
--Have an outside provider or diligent IT manage your firewall, and
--DO NOT send confidential files via emails; all communications should be sent via VPNs.

To protect your network from virus' Johnston suggests that you control access by visitors to servers and Internet, and run antivirus scans on all computers daily.

Common office security continues to be a serious issue in billing organizations says HBMA's Johnston. Some common problems that are an easy fix in your office are:

--Don't talk so loudly in the office that patients in the waiting room can hear details about patient treatment and
--Don't have desks stacked high with papers containing patient information for others entering to see.

Johnston says it's important to perform routine tasks on all computers. Have daily anti-virus and Microsoft updates, and perform daily backups.

Finger print readers are cheap, reliable, and easy to implement. Some products for security protection that Johnston mentioned were:

Other renown speakers discussed many important topics which are critical to the healthcare billing industry and included:

Randy Roat, "The Anatomy of An Acquisition,"
Maureen Brooks, "Creating Remarkable Client Loyalty,"
Legislative consultant, Bill Finerfrock, presented an important update of what's happening in Washington in healthcare, and many more.

HBMA's Fall conference will take place Wednesday, September 10th to Friday, September 12th at Paradise Point Resort & Spa in San Diego, California.

For more information about topics and speakers at the Healthcare Billing and Management Association (HBMA) Conference, or to register for the Fall Conference, visit www.HBMA.org.

Founded in 1993, the Healthcare Billing and Management Association (HBMA) is the only trade association representing third-party medical billers. HBMA was created to work with and educate Congress and the Administration on legislative and regulatory issues affecting physician, Medicare, Medicaid, and the managed care industry, and to eliminate - to the extent possible - unethical healthcare billers from the industry. HBMA members process physician and other provider claims integral to the healthcare delivery system. Three-out-of-four HBMA members are expanding their business to include accounts receivable management, consulting, and practice management services. HBMA members are held to the highest of ethical standards as established by the National HBMA Code of Ethics.