In today’s digital world, compliance with HIPAA and cybersecurity is essential for protecting your business. As the healthcare industry continues to embrace technological advances such as Electronic Health Records (EHR) and telemedicine, it is important that businesses understand how compliance with HIPAA regulations can help protect their data from cyber threats.
This article will explore how compliance with HIPAA standards works together with cybersecurity measures to safeguard sensitive patient information and keep your business safe from malicious attacks. We’ll also discuss best practices for staying compliant and implementing effective security solutions for your organization.
What Is HIPAA Compliance?
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) imposed by the U.S. federal government is a set of compliance regulations that seek to protect protected health information (PHI), including electronically protected health information (e-PHI). HIPAA compliance requires organizations or individuals who handle PHI to implement safeguards and ensure compliance with all legal requirements.
Protected data that falls under HIPAA compliance include the following:
- Social Security number
- Date of birth
- Names of relatives
- Medical record numbers
- Payment information
- Doctor’s notes
- Any other unique types of information that identifies a person
The Importance of HIPAA Compliance
Protecting the health information of patients is extremely important. This is why compliance with HIPAA regulations is essential for those responsible for PHI.
However, as the world has become increasingly digital, businesses have opted to store a lot more data electronically and online. While in the past, the traditional method for collecting and storing data was on paper, this is no longer the case.
As such organizations must be aware of and adhere to compliance standards when it comes to electronically stored data, including those related to HIPAA compliance.
The consequences for breaching compliance with HIPAA can be severe, including fines and even criminal prosecution. According to the U.S. Department of Human and Health Services, a single HIPAA violation could cost a maximum of $63, 973. To avoid these consequences, it’s essential for organizations to ensure compliance when it comes to storing patient data digitally.
Who Needs to Be HIPPA Compliant?
HIPAA was created mainly to monitor the healthcare industry, but compliance isn’t just limited to organizations directly involved in healthcare. Any company or individual who has access to PHI must comply with HIPAA regulations to protect the privacy and security of patient information.
Organizations under the compliance of HIPAA include hospitals, clinics, health insurance companies, doctor’s offices, and any other healthcare-related business that handles PHI.
Businesses that deal with PHI and are expected to comply with HIPAA regulations include lawyers, accountants, and other financial institutions.
Other organizations needing compliance are subcontractors, such as those who provide medical billing services and IT support.
You Need Cybersecurity to Meet HIPAA Compliance Regulations
HIPAA compliance and cybersecurity go hand in hand. Cybersecurity measures protect PHI from unauthorized access, disclosure, or destruction. All organizations handling PHI must have security measures in place that will fulfill HIPAA’s four rules for compliance.
HIPAA’s four general rules to ensure compliance are outlined as follows:
- (1) Ensure the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of all electronic protected health information the covered entity creates, receives, maintains, or transmits.
- (2) Protect against any reasonably anticipated threats or hazards to the security or integrity of such information.
- (3) Protect against any reasonably anticipated uses or disclosures of such information that are not permitted or required under subpart E of this part.
- (4) Ensure compliance with this subpart by its workforce.
Strategies You Can Use to Implement Cybersecurity and HIPAA IT Compliance
Although HIPAA has four strict regulations to protect PHI, the official document doesn’t go into details about what businesses should specifically do. However, here are some recommended cybersecurity strategies that organizations can use to ensure compliance with these regulations:
1. Educate Employees
It’s crucial for organizations to educate their employees about the importance of compliance and cybersecurity. This includes teaching them to understand the risks associated with PHI and how to handle it safely and securely.
2. Utilize Secure Communication Platforms
Organizations must provide secure communication platforms for transmitting PHI. This includes using cloud-based applications that use encryption to protect PHI and limit access to only those who need it.
3. Implement Access Control
Access control is key when it comes to compliance with HIPAA regulations. Organizations should have measures in place to ensure that only authorized personnel have access to PHI.
4. Utilize Advanced Security Software
Organizations must use advanced security software such as endpoint protection and antivirus programs to protect PHI from cyber threats. Additionally, they should implement regular backups of their systems and data in case of a breach or system failure.
5. Perform Regular Audits
Following a plan is not enough. Organizations must also regularly audit their compliance with HIPAA regulations. This includes performing security checks to ensure that PHI is being handled securely and all personnel are following the rules.
Secure Your Networks for HIPAA Compliance with Total IT
Avoid compliance penalties and secure your networks for HIPAA IT compliance with Total IT. Our team of experts will help you create an effective strategy to protect your information and ensure compliance with HIPAA regulations.
Our network security services are designed to help you protect your data and minimize the risk of a compliance violation. We provide dedicated IT specialists who will monitor your networks and provide sophisticated network security solutions.
Reach out to us for a consultation today to learn how we can help your business comply with HIPAA regulations.