What and why is HIPAA so important?

HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) is a set of regulations in the United States that governs the privacy, security, and confidentiality of protected health information (PHI). To achieve HIPAA compliance, healthcare organizations (dental offices, medical private practices, urgent care offices, and more) must meet certain technical requirements.

“Failure to implement mobile device security by Covered Entities and Business Associates puts individuals’ sensitive health information at risk. This disregard for security can result in a serious breach, which affects each individual whose information is left unprotected.”

Healthcare compliance usually involves three main areas: patient safety, patient privacy, and billing of services.

10 most important technology requirements for HIPAA compliance

  1. Access Control: Implement secure access controls to ensure that only authorized individuals can access PHI. This includes strong passwords, multi-factor authentication, and user role-based access controls.
  2. Encryption: Encrypt PHI both in transit and at rest. This includes using secure protocols (e.g., HTTPS) for data transmission and encrypting data stored on devices, servers, and databases.
  3. Audit Controls: Maintain audit trails and implement systems to record and monitor access to PHI. This helps track and review activities related to PHI, ensuring accountability and detecting any unauthorized access or breaches.
  4. Secure Communications: Use secure methods to transmit PHI, such as encrypted email or secure messaging platforms, to protect data during transmission and prevent unauthorized interception.
  5. Disaster Recovery and Data Backup: Establish data backup and disaster recovery plans to ensure the availability and integrity of PHI in the event of a system failure, natural disaster, or other emergencies.
  6. Physical Security: Implement safeguards to protect physical access to areas where PHI is stored, such as data centers, servers, and offices. This includes measures like secure locks, access control systems, and surveillance cameras.
  7. Risk Assessment and Management: Conduct regular risk assessments to identify potential vulnerabilities and security risks to PHI. Implement risk management strategies to mitigate these risks effectively.
  8. Employee Training: Provide security awareness training, HIPAA regulations, privacy practices, and security protocols. This ensures that staff members understand their responsibilities in handling PHI and are aware of potential risks and best practices.

    Security awareness training is a strategy used by business owners and security professionals to prevent and mitigate user risk.

  9. Business Associate Agreements: Establish agreements with business associates who handle PHI on behalf of the healthcare organization. These agreements ensure that the business associates comply with HIPAA regulations and maintain the privacy and security of PHI.
  10. Security Incident Response: Develop and implement an incident response plan to handle security incidents, data breaches, and unauthorized disclosures promptly. This includes protocols for reporting incidents, conducting investigations, and notifying affected individuals as required by HIPAA.

It’s important to note that HIPAA compliance is a complex and ongoing process, and organizations should consult legal and cybersecurity professionals like Orinoco 360 to ensure they meet all necessary requirements and maintain compliance over time.

Let Orinoco 360 help you implement the level of security that your practice needs. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.

Reference article from HHS.gov

Reference article from MedSafe.com

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