The most important value every person has is life and health. They rarely depend on possessed finances but rather on a lifestyle we live. We usually suppose that the only people who would ever be interested in our health are ourselves and that it hardly matters to strangers.
However, after hospitals and various clinics started using cloud-based technologies for keeping personal data of their patients, many other people, who have no connection to these patients, got interested in their health conditions or, it would be more precise to say, the data about their health conditions and contact information. Those people are hackers who strive for using such information to make some extra cash. So, how to protect personal data from stealing? That’s where HIPAA comes to mind.
What is HIPAA Compliance?
HIPAA is the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. It is a set of standards and rules aimed to protect patient data. Every company or organization, which deals with health data, has to ensure information security and process physical and network measures for meeting HIPAA. Every entity that provides payments, operations, and treatment in healthcare including business associates, who have an access to personal information of patients, should follow the HIPAA assessment checklist.
HIPAA Privacy and Security Rules
The HIPAA contains two basic parts establishing privacy and security rules. The first one covers protection principles of patient health data and the second one sets security basics for protecting health data that are transferred electronically.
Penalties for violation
How much does it cost to violate HIPAA rules? Such violation can lead to fine sentence from $100 to $1,500,000. This is a quite expensive price for one small mistake. But don’t worry, our HIPAA technology checklist will help avoid any material punishment.
Why HIPAA Compliance is Important
Electronic methods of keeping personal data increase mobility, usability, and efficiency of processing information. However, web-based or open source technologies also increase risks of data loss. Only qualified and qualitative hospital management software development can protect personal information from hacking.
Health information theft can cause financial loss or even compromise human lives. Personal data sale is not the most damaging risk that can be caused by information theft. Changing patient’s clinical history and certain diagnoses can deceive hospital staff who can prescribe incorrect treatment. And that’s definitely an issue.
Here are possible ways how frauds can use health information:
- Medical care at other people’s expense;
- Receiving expensive medicines for the resale purposes;
- Deceiving insurance companies with the intention to get illegal compensation;
- Contact information sale to third parties.
In order to ensure protection from fraud actions, it is necessary to follow the rules from the IT HIPAA Compliance checklist.
How to Ensure HIPAA Compliance
HIPAA’s Security Rule is quite flexible for developing and implementing custom procedures, technologies and methods for ensuring HIPAA Compliance depending on the entity’s organizational structure and a number of employees. Anyway, basic access control rules are identical for any entity regarding e-PHI (electronic protected health information).
Access control rules:
- Required usage of unique user IDs;
- Usage of encryption and decryption;
- Automatic log off;
- Development of emergency access steps.
The following HIPAA Hi-tech Compliance checklist and its best practices will allow protecting data from stealing and ensure patient privacy.
Create a team of dedicated security officers
Perform continuous risk analysis
Control the usage of email services and mobile devices
HIPAA allow usage of email for transferring data but advises to encrypt it for data protection from thefts. In case the organization has no possibilities or resources for email encryption, then patients have to be notified about risks they adopt by using unencrypted email messaging. Awareness can be established online or using paper notification with patient’s sign. Hospital and clinics also have to adopt strict rules prohibiting usage of portable devices.
Organize training activities
Investments in training staff and covered entities will save finances in future. Organizing security-related and educating courses is important for implementing HIPAA Compliance in healthcare organizations. Learning cases and HIPAA theory will help employees better understand principles and procedures of patient privacy and personal information protection.
Provide patients with all the necessary information
Establish secure relationship with covered entities and business associates
All vendors and business associates, who deal with the e-PHI, have to strictly follow HIPAA rules. Created and signed corresponding documentation will set a strong agreement and obligate all entities, who have an access to the PHI, to be HIPAA compliant.
So here we are. We covered basic HIPAA rules and the most efficient ways to ensure health data security to avoid hacking. There are also ethical reasons why patients’ personal data should be kept safe. Patients have the right to keep in secret having various diseases and viruses that cannot be transmitted via respiratory droplets and cannot cause damage to other people’ health using ordinary methods.
No matter what the reason is, anyway, patient privacy and information security are important for saving human health and lives. This is exactly why HIPAA security compliance checklist exists: to prevent confidential information from becoming public.