The New Office Monster…HIPAA
Your Office’s Latest Challenge…HIPAA Compliance
The Health Information Portability and Accountability Act, otherwise known as HIPAA, may be the new the headache of every cybersecurity professional who deals with HIPAA customers.
To understand the headaches often associated with HIPAA compliance, you must first understand what HIPAA is.
Personally Identifiable Information Regs
This federal law protects an individual’s personally identifiable information (PII) by setting administrative, security and technical standards and safeguards nation-wide. Those who collect, process or use the data must ensure it is reasonably protected, and the same rules apply to everyone in the health care industry.
Companies or organizations that deal in HIPAA data are known as Covered Entities and Business Associates, and they are required to have your written consent to use PII data. Among all the paperwork you sign when you go to a hospital is a HIPAA agreement.
How HIPAA Affects Security
Security measures such as restricting access to HIPAA-related data, locking individual workstations and requiring employees to wear ID badges are expected to be followed.
Being HIPAA compliant is more about standards and practices then it is about a specific cybersecurity tool.
HIPAA compliance includes methods of restricting physical and digital access to the data, proper log management, contingency planning, appropriate training and valid incident response plans.
Why HIPAA Compliance Can Be A Headache
Protecting PII seems like a reasonable request for any organization that consciously agrees to work in the healthcare space.
The headache for many businesses and providers comes from the fact that the standards and practices are meant for everyone in and associated with the organization, not just those directly handling HIPAA data.
The security standards for HIPAA compliance are strict, with infractions carrying hefty fines from the Department of Health and Human Services.For example, in a HIPAA-restricted workplace something as simple as forgetting your employee badge could potentially get the organization fined thousands of dollars.
Also, organizations claiming HIPAA compliance are subject to random auditing from the Department of Health and Human Services, so standards must be followed at all times.
For organizations striving to become HIPAA compliant, the challenges of implementing and maintaining proper patient confidentiality and information security stems from the classic battle between convenience versus security. Unfortunately, without the right guidance, office procedures and Healthcare IT services solutions, convenience often wins.
If you’re looking to get started tackling the technical challenges of bringing your organization into compliance, contact your local Bay Area healthcare technology team for your free network assessment today!
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