Health Insurance Portability and Accountability is top-notch for delicate patient data protection. If your company deals with Protected Health Information (PHI) as well as Health Insurance, it must have a physical, network, and process security measures to help them ensure HIPAA Compliance.
Further, covered entities like hospitals and clinics as well as business associates and subcontractors must meet HIPAA compliance.
HIPAA Privacy and Security Rules
From the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, HIPAA Privacy Rules sets the standard for protecting particular health details transferred in soft or electronic form. It takes care of both technical and non-technical safeguards that must be taken by covered entities, subcontractors, and others to secure patients’ electronic PHI. Only the office for Civil Rights can enforce these Privacy and Security Rules. They do this with civil money penalties and voluntary compliance activities.
Why HIPAA Compliance?
The fact is that everything is now digital. The overall health sector has moved to computerized operations in systems, electronic Health Record, radiology, pharmacy, and laboratory services. The improvements in these areas are good but health care data is at risk too. It is only necessary to protect the information of patients to avoid problems.
No wonder we need to protect the privacy of individuals’ health details and as well allow covered entities to obey these policies and procedures.
Physical and Technical Safeguards, Policies and HIPAA Compliance
The US Department of Health and Human Services set up the physical safeguards below:
- Restrictions for transferring, removing, disposing, and reusing electronic media and ePHI.
- Policies about use and access to workstations and electronic media
- Limited facility access and control with authorized access in place.
On the other hand, access control includes the followings:
- Using unique User IDs, emergency access procedures, automatic log off, and encryption and decryption.
- Audit reports or tracking logs that record activity on hardware and software.
Other measures should cover:
- Integrity controls
- IT Disaster Recovery
- Offsite backup. These three options here help to easily recover information accurately.
- Network and transmission security to ensure that HIPAA compliant hosts protect against unauthorized users from accessing Ephi.
For easy HIPAA Compliance, the US Government passed a supplemental act called the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act. This body gives a penalty for health organizations that violate HIPAA rules.
Data Protection for Healthcare Organizations and Meeting HIPAA Compliance
Because the data of patients can be shared electronically, it is important to ensure that they are safe. Health organizations have to comply with the rules and regulations of Health insurance. The protection strategy helps to:
- Firstly, make sure that the security and availability of PHI to maintain the trust of practitioners and patients
- Secondly, meet HIPAA and HITECH regulations for access audit, integrity controls, data transmission, and device security.
- Thirdly, ensure greater visibility and control of service of sensitive data throughout the organization.
Further, it is important to know that the best data protection solutions protect patient data in all areas including structured and unstructured data, email, document, scan, and lots more.
HIPAA Compliance in the COVID 19 Landscape
There has been compliance in the following areas:
- Telehealth Visits: instead of going to the hospital to see a doctor, schedules are made for the patient to communicate with the doctor online. Their discussions over the internet need to be protected.
- Also, increased Patient Count: after the lockdown, a lot of people can now visit the hospital for their appointments. This causes the hospital to be crowded and in most cases, there may be less staff to attend to all the patients. They may not take the appropriate measures to protect patients’ information.
- Lastly, multiple Care Providers: some patients have multiple doctors. Also, some physicians get updates from different testing labs.
If you are a covered entity, follow HIPAA rules. You have the options below:
‘’if you want to use audio or video communication technology to provide telehealth to patients during COVID 19, you can use any non-public facing communication product. Communications will provide guidance to the most important issues caused by pandemics like appointments, data threats, and mitigation techniques.
Most Recent HIPAA Violation Updates
From the official updates published in April 2019, you will see the followings:
- A tiered structure for violations with corresponding ‘’caps’’ now starting from $25,000 for Tier 1.
- Also, according to the HIPAA Journal, the average financial penalty was more than $1.2 million. This enforcement may be hard in 2020 due to COVID 19.
Additional Regulations on Opioids and Health Insurance
Opioid addiction and overuse in America are seen as a ‘’crisis’’ and an ‘’epidemic’’. It may cause some changes in HIPAA. These may result in more compliance issues.
Patient-Centric Data Protection
- Firstly, case studies on how DLP prevented PHI egress.
- Data security challenges in healthcare.
- Also, how digital Guardian protects PHI from internal and external threats.
Meeting Stringent HIPAA Regulations
How to use DLP to cut your risk of HIPAA fines
Security Strategies for protecting patient data
HIPAA 101: 4 core regulatory rules that impact security.