There are many organizations like insurance companies, healthcare providers and hospitals that use people’s health information. This information is integral for them to provide care and services to the people. As more and more people have access to this information, the Federal Government decided something had to be done about it. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) was passed.
Even though this term is seen across many marketing and consumer websites, there is no formal certificate provided for HIPAA compliant organizations. HIPAA rules and regulations consist of the few components like:
- Breach Notification Rules
- The HIPAA Privacy
- Security Rules
These rules will enable the federal law to set the national standard to safeguard and protect the records, personal health information, and medical accounts of the holder.
Role of IT in Ensuring HIPAA Compliance
There are a few things organizations can do from the IT point of view to ensure there is no HIPAA violation.
- Emails should be encrypted. The organization needs to work to encrypt it emails and document it also. The Security Rule allows sending Personal Health Information (PHI) over an electronic medium, but it has to be protected.
- Training should be provided to employees on the best security practices. Show them how to use strong passwords, avoid phishing emails and start using the multi-factor authentication.
- Increasing the cyber security investment and IT budgets is necessary. This will allow organizations to put in proper security measures to protect sensitive information.
- Only authorized personnel should have access to this information. Unique user-ID’s, automatic log-off, emergency procedures and decryption and encryption should be done. Finally, determine if a business associate agreement is needed between your practice and businesses you share data with.
- Audits should be done, and logs should be tracked.
For healthcare organizations, HIPAA compliance is essential. But, this is not the only organization that requires it. With the quick adoption of technology and the use of the Internet of Things (IoT) devices, it is becoming essential for all organizations keep a track of a patient’s heart rate, sleep quality, and other personal details securely.
Cybesion is a Managed IT Security Service Provider, namely providing business grade cyber security protection.