Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) was developed as an industry standard to ensure strong protection of personal healthcare information (PHI). Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) regulates HIPAA compliance, and the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) enforces it.
If you have ever asked yourself, Do I need to be HIPAA compliant? — you will find the answer below.
Who needs to comply with HIPAA?
HIPAA applies to the following covered entities: a health plan, a health care clearinghouse, and a health care provider who transmits any health information in electronic form.
- Health plans include HMOs, company health plans, health maintenance companies, Medicare, Medicaid, CHAMPUS. To be covered by HIPAA, a group health plan, by definition, should have 50+ participants or be administered by an entity other than the employer who established and maintains the plan. Even employers and schools need to be HIPAA compliant once they enroll employees and students in health plans.
- A health care clearinghouse means an entity that processes or facilitates the processing of health data into the industry-standard form. In practice, it includes billing services and community health management information systems.
- HIPAA defines a health care provider as an individual or organization that provides medical or other health services. A wide range of specialists from surgeons to podiatrists fits this description. Who else needs to be HIPAA compliant as a health care provider? Hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, pharmacies, and more.
In 2013 HIPAA Omnibus Rule expanded the privacy and security regulations to business associates of the covered entities described above. Any vendor or subcontractor who accesses personal health information (PHI) automatically becomes liable for HIPAA compliance. Examples of business associates include data processing firms, medical equipment service companies, data storage and/or shredding companies, lawyers, consultants, etc.
What is HIPAA Compliance?
HIPAA compliance is a systematic approach that ensures confidentiality, integrity, and availability of medical data. A set of measures includes self-audits, remediation plans, policies, procedures, employee training, incident management, and more. A detailed HIPAA compliance checklist can be found on our blog soon.
There are several HIPAA compliance software and hardware solutions for healthcare. Hideez offers innovative identity and access management solution. Centralized credential provisioning allows you to manage digital and physical access efficiently, immediately off-board employees, set up multi-factor authentication that provides stronger security without extra effort. How? Hideez Key is a token that locally encrypts and stores passwords, allowing users to access data they need by pressing a button. Employees cannot view the passwords and thus — cannot disclose them. Hideez HIPAA solution protects against one of the most common security threats in the healthcare industry — phishing. With the Hideez Key users are unable to use their credentials on a fake page.
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The Hideez Key offers a smart lock feature for users. Powered by Bluetooth, it automatically locks a computer when a user walks away. Such a proximity lock prevents unintentional disclosure of sensitive information. It is particularly helpful in workplaces with multiple shared computers, like hospitals, clinics, pharmacies, and other covered entities.
The advantages of HIPAA compliance
The number one benefit of being compliant is risk mitigation. HIPAA sets best practices for handling sensitive patient data. Achieving HIPAA compliance means a company has security management systems and protocols in place and is efficient against today's level of risk.
Compliance also means no corrective action is taken against your organization. Under HIPAA penalties for noncompliance include monetary cost, external and internal investigation and overhaul, and in case of severe violation — imprisonment for up to 10 years.
And finally, proactive protection from data breaches secure patient trust in your organization.
Why is HIPAA Important to Healthcare?
An organization or individual, who has to comply with HIPAA, may consider the regulation challenging and pointless. However, it protects the medical information (one of the most targeted data on the black market) by setting an industry-wide standard for the storage, access, maintenance, and transmission of PHI. HIPAA reduces the risks of abuse and fraud in healthcare.
By complying with HIPAA, you ensure that clients’ medical data is kept private. It builds trust and reputation for your organization. Once there is a data leak, this trust and, thus customers, is lost. Prevent financial and reputational losses by introducing HIPAA compliance solutions for your organization. Hideez Enterprise Server for Healthcare makes day-to-day compliance effortless for the end-user.