Why It’s Important To Be HIPAA Compliant

Written By Tibby Fielding

One way to help build trust between patients and healthcare professionals is through HIPAA compliance. Patients can feel more confident in their doctors which leads to better healthcare. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) is a federal law that was created to protect the privacy of individuals’ health information. It also sets standards for the security of electronic health information. As technology has advanced, so have threats to the security of protected health information (PHI). Cybersecurity is a critical component of HIPAA compliance and is essential for protecting the privacy of individuals’ health information. HIPAA compliance focuses on the privacy of patient data but does not address the security of the data. Cybersecurity measures and IT professionals are necessary for protecting healthcare data from unauthorized access, malicious attacks, and data breaches. These security specialists can implement measures such as encryption, firewalls, and access controls to protect patient data. They also monitor the network for suspicious activity.

The penalties for HIPAA violations can be severe, especially when combined with a network security breach. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office for Civil Rights (OCR) is responsible for enforcing HIPAA and can impose penalties for violations ranging from $100 to $1.5 million per year. These penalties can be detrimental to healthcare providers. Combined with a security breach, millions of dollars in damages, and leaked sensitive data, healthcare providers face a growing threat to their security.

Rethinking Your Approach To Cyber Risk Management

Healthcare has changed to serve both on-site and remote patients. To safeguard data and practice system management for protected health information (PHI), a holistic and comprehensive approach to cybersecurity that meets HIPAA compliance and HIPAA Security Rule Standards is necessary. Consider the following practices when planning for cyber risk management.

Administrative Safeguards:

  • Implement access control measures such as multi-factor authentication, two-step verification, and monitoring user activity.
  • Regularly update passwords and secure user account privileges with appropriate clearances.
  • Secure networks and computers by installing a comprehensive security solution that includes firewalls, malware protection, antivirus software, and continual monitoring.
  • Conduct employee security training sessions to teach employees about the importance of healthcare data privacy and security best practices.
  • Perform regularly scheduled backups of your data, and have emergency plans in place.

Physical Safeguards:

  • Secure premises by installing locked doors, motion detectors, and security cameras.
  • Restrict access to workstations, utilize physical barriers around protected information, and operate with ID keycard access.
  • Technical Safeguards:

Access Control:

  • This involves verifying and authorizing user access to PHI. It can be accomplished with passwords, personal identification numbers, and biometric identification.
  • Automatic Logoff: Establish procedures that terminate an electronic session after a predetermined time of inactivity.
  • Audit Controls: Implement hardware, software, and procedural mechanisms to record and examine access and other activity.
  • Integrity Controls: Implement measures to ensure that PHI is authenticated and is not improperly altered or destroyed.
  • Transmission security: Regulate the controls for encryption, and provide safeguards against unauthorized access of PHI during transmission.

Do you need help advancing your existing risk management program into one that is more holistic and includes a whole-systems approach? Contact ADVYON today for a lasting partnership and see how we can help identify your organization’s risks and resolve them quickly and efficiently. ADVYON is more than just an IT company, we are great at assessing, identifying, and aligning business and technology solutions to complement our client’s strategic objectives, growth, project goals, culture, people, and processes.