Healthcare providers are no different from other companies in terms of having a safe, secured, and regulated network system. With the modern technology that most organizations are using and learning to their advantage, healthcare providers are required to meet HIPAA Compliance.
What is HIPAA Compliance?
HIPAA is the abbreviation for Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996. It refers to a set of regulatory standards that most healthcare companies follow in their operations, mandating companies to protect sensitive patient information.
Since network systems nowadays can be faulty, companies need to use various pieces of software that meet HIPAA compliance. This provides companies extra security and protection against data breaches. HIPAA Compliance is a culture that most healthcare companies adapt to in their management. It protects the integrity, security, and privacy of all the information within their organization’s physical network and security process.
Who ensures HIPAA Compliance?
The Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Civil Rights is the head department in the government that regulates covered entities when it comes to HIPAA Compliance. Since 2003, OCR’s enforcement activities have made significant results, helping improve the privacy practices of healthcare companies. The corrective actions brought about a systemic change that has developed the privacy protection of health information for all individuals they serve.
What involves PHI or Patient Health Information?
Protected health information pertains to the data relating to the health status of an individual. It is created, collected, or maintained by a HIPAA-covered entity. Protected health information consists of diagnosis, treatment information, medical test results, and prescription information. It also includes national identification numbers and demographic information such as birth dates, gender, ethnicity, social security number, bank account number and contact information.
Who should be HIPAA Compliant?
Covered Entities – A covered entity is an organization that collects, creates, or transmits protected health information electronically. Some examples of this are health care providers, health care clearinghouses, and health insurance providers.
Business Associates – A business associate is defined as any organization that handles PHI in any way over the course of work that it has been required to perform on behalf of a covered entity.
Business associates that need to observe HIPAA compliance may include billing companies, practice management firms, third-party consultants, IT providers, shredding companies, physical storage providers, cloud storage providers, email hosting services, accountants, among others.
Benefits of HIPAA Compliance
HIPAA Compliance Benefit No. 1: Handles Patient Data Properly
Fulfilling HIPAA compliance can ensure that you are handling sensitive data appropriately throughout your organization. Unsecured accessing, storing, and sharing protected health information may possibly cause a breach or incident of noncompliance. By implementing HIPAA compliance protocols, you can manage sensitive data in a secured and protected manner. With today’s landscape of active and persistent threats, deploying data security best practices can provide an essential level of defense in your system.
HIPAA Compliance Benefit No. 2: Patient Trust
In the past years, there have been numerous reports about data breaches. Companies that experienced this have suffered reputational harm resulting in lasting damage. If you want to keep your patient’s trust in your company, you must maintain HIPAA compliance by setting up a robust data security infrastructure focused on protecting patient data. With a comprehensive data protection plan in place, cyber-attacks are noticed quickly. This reduces the scope of data breach and limits the impact on your brand and reputation.
HIPAA Compliance Benefit No. 3: Proactive Data Protection
Having a comprehensive patient data security risk plan can help maintain your HIPAA compliance. This enables your organization to proactively defend your critical systems and data against current threats. At the same time, it will help you quickly adapt to new threats. Knowing these security issues in advance will allow you to put into place active threat measures and tight access controls.
HIPAA Compliance Benefit No. 4: Cost-efficient
Another advantage of achieving and maintaining HIPAA compliance is you won’t be subject to corrective action. This may come in different forms, but each of them can be costly. Regulating agencies may require you to do extensive training and retraining for your staff. You may also need to make a system-wide overhaul, as you have to improve your data storage, security, or transmission. Apart from this, noncompliance can result in significant monetary penalties.
Ultimate Technical Solutions Inc.
Ultimate Technical Solutions Inc. is an IT firm based in Louisiana that provides organizations reliable data protection services. Our IT team can eliminate the risks of data loss and ensure that you remain compliant to regulations by deploying modern data protection technologies. Contact us at (504) 370-2042 for more information.