An Important Alert from PRMS Regarding Windows XP Users

Please be advised that Microsoft will no longer maintain Windows XP as of April 8, 2014.* Microsoft will no longer provide security updates, fix bugs, or offer call center support for Windows XP users. What does this mean for you? If you are still using Windows XP in your practice – 28% of all computer users continue to do so – the security of your Protected Health Information (PHI) may be in danger, potentially resulting in liability. In order to secure your PHI, minimize your risk, remain HIPAA-compliant, and meet your professional obligation to keep patient information secure, we suggest you to do the following:

1. Review HIPAA! It is important to understand what capabilities are required of your operating system by law. For more information on HIPAA’s requirements, contact your risk managers.

2. Do the research. Before utilizing any new program that will manage PHI, assess its strengths, weaknesses, and whether it will be the right fit for your practice.

3. Upgrade your operating systems to ensure that they are up to date and compliant with HIPAA. Windows XP is now being phased out. If you continue to use this operating system, you will open yourself up to elevated risk and exposure over the coming months.

4. For those devices that have yet to be updated, create an implementation schedule and stick to it! * It has been reported that Microsoft will continue to maintain the XP malware engine for another year until July 14, 2015. However, they have already had their final public release of security patches.

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* It has been reported that Microsoft will continue to maintain the XP malware engine for another year until July 14, 2015.  However, they have already had their final public release of security patches.

Donna Vanderpool, MBA, JD – Vice President

As Vice President of Risk Management, Ms. Vanderpool is responsible for the development and implementation of PRMS’s risk management services for The Psychiatrists’ Program. Ms. Vanderpool has developed expertise in the areas of HIPAA and forensic practice, and has consulted, written and spoken nationally on these and other healthcare law and risk management topics. Ms. Vanderpool wrote a chapter concerning the risks of harm to forensic experts for Robert L. Sadoff, MD’s book Ethical Issues in Forensic Psychiatry: Minimizing Harm, (Feb. 2011/Wiley). She received her undergraduate degree from James Madison University, and her MBA and JD from George Mason University. Prior to joining PRMS in 2000, Ms. Vanderpool practiced criminal defense law, taught business and legal courses as an adjunct faculty member at a community college and spent eight years managing a general surgical practice in Virginia.
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