Understand HIPAA Compliance
Are you HIPAA compliant? Do you need to be?
Understanding compliance and security is essential for health care providers and health care IT professionals alike.
Compliance and Security go hand-in-hand to keep sensitive health care data safe. Health care is one of the fastest growing sectors of the US economy. With the increase of new electronic and digital platforms for the storage and transmission of confidential health data, there’s never been a better time to stay up-to-date and tighten up your HIPAA compliance.
What is Compliance?
For health care professionals, HIPAA compliance is an essential set of industry standards that are required to ensure the privacy and security of protected health information (PHI). While HIPAA compliance can be complex, there are a few “key” HIPAA Rules that all health care providers must implement.
HIPAA defines the type of security work that needs to be implemented, giving necessary structure to security programs and an outline to follow during the implementation process.
Two of the most important HIPAA Rules are the (1) HIPAA Privacy Rule, and the (2) HIPAA Security Rule. Each HIPAA Rule is composed of a series of national implementation standards. These standards establish clear, specific guidelines for the creation, deployment, and testing of an effective compliance program.
These HIPAA Security Rules outline administrative, technical, and physical safeguards that all health care providers and their vendors must address. There are three (3) components:
Administrative: Safeguards describe the creation and maintenance of policies, procedures, documentation, and staff training.
Technical: Safeguards describe the implementation of the network security infrastructure, such as firewalls, data back-up, data encryption, and malware protection.
Physical: Safeguards describe the processes you install to protect the physical premises of a health care office. This includes locks, alarm systems, and card-key or role-based access for larger organizations.
What is Security?
To address compliance and security properly, health care professionals must abide by the security standards outlined in the regulation. HIPAA defines the type of security work that needs to be implemented, giving necessary structure to security programs and an outline to follow during the implementation process.
Security addresses the fundamental part of HIPAA regulation as mandated by the HIPAA Security Rule. The security infrastructure required by HIPAA regulation is designed to protect the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of a patient's PHI. Specifically, as it applies to HIPAA, the most important thing to ensure is that PHI is being kept private and secure.
Security is where the value of a health IT professional’s expertise can benefit you and your organization. The security measures mandated by HIPAA should already be standards among your service offerings. Line items, such as email encryption, data encryption, firewalls, penetration testing, cyber-security infrastructure, and security risk assessments are important elements of a proper security program that also address HIPAA requirements for security.
Compliance and Security: You Need Both
Please note, no compliance program can be complete without security measures to enhance it. No health IT security infrastructure is totally effective without an overarching compliance program.
As you now know, Compliance and Security are inextricably linked. Partnering with SMB IT Solutions, healthcare professionals in the greater Atlanta area can stop worrying about HIPAA compliance. Our team of professionals can help you understand the nuances of HIPAA and how it applies to your business, and help you develop a comprehensive plan. To learn more about SMB IT Solutions HIPAA solutions, request a free consultation by calling 1.888.245.1528 or send an email to .
Posted in: Article