HIPAA Healthcare IT: Protect Patient Privacy Using IT Support Services

Using IT Services to Conform to HIPAA Reqs and Protect Your Patients’ Privacy

On average, two million Americans face medical identity theft each year, costing U.S. healthcare organizations an estimated $41 billion [1]. Healthcare practices are finding it increasingly difficult to comply with patient privacy regulations. After the enactment of the HIPAA Privacy statute in 1996, there have been several regulations regarding patient privacy: HITECH, ARRA Meaningful Use, and the Omnibus Rule.

HIPAA Medical IT Healthcare IT Chart Sensitive Info Storage

Patient privacy breaches attract severe penalties, both criminal and financial, along with harm to reputation. When the stakes are so high, a solid foundation is necessary — involving policy, procedures and technology — for ensuring patient privacy throughout the healthcare organization.

Top Challenges in Securing Patient Privacy Data

Although healthcare is the most regulated industry in the US today, in order to comply with the strict regulations and for avoiding stiff penalties, healthcare organizations face three primary challenges in protecting patient data. Every access to patient data must be logged — this is a HIPAA requirement. Massive volumes of access records are generated and need to be audited. Lastly, diverse data needs to be consolidated.

A Three-Step Methodology Can Lead To a Solid Foundation

As patient privacy compliance program [2], such as the Healthcare IT Support Services from Bay Computing in the San Francisco Bay Area, can provide a solid foundation and reduce the risk of a data breach with the following three elements:

1. Defining Appropriate Policies

When healthcare practices accept principles regarding patient privacy, those are reflected in their policies. These help establish a culture and expectation binding all stakeholders, including the doctors, office managers, and decision-makers of small to mid-sized practices.

2. Setting up Suitable Procedures

To enforce the policy, healthcare practices need suitable processes for developing, documenting, implementing, and communicating procedures. Mostly this involves defining who can access what data [3].

3. Using Current Technology

Tasks that cannot be addressed manually need to be handled with technology and this must be augmented in the procedures by IT support. As appropriate technology allows automatic monitoring of patient privacy data access, healthcare practices can be free of the limitations of random and manual audits.

Conclusion

Located in the San Francisco Bay Area, Bay Computing helps healthcare providers succeed by providing comprehensive, accessible and readily available healthcare IT support.

With IT services that focus on providing your users a great helpdesk and technical support experience, your patient care providers can now take advantage of your existing IT investments to satisfy increasing demands while observing Meaningful Use, navigating any new implementations following HIPAA Compliance Assessments, and any other number of industry requirements.

Ready to get started? Contact Bay Computing today and receive a free onsite network assessment!

References:

[1]
https://www.experianplc.com/media/news/2012/more-people-aware-of-medical-identity-theft/

[2]
http://cdn2.hubspot.net/hub/395219/file-1913515325-pdf/Documents/IatricPatientPrivacyWhitepaperCIO.pdf

[3]
http://fas.org:8080/sgp/crs/misc/R40599.pdf

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