HIPAA (The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) is an act that deals with the protection of sensitive patient data that is collected by hospitals, health insurance companies and other health care providers.
Any organization that provides treatment, operations and payment in healthcare, other business associates who have access to patient data to provide support for treatment, operations and payment and subcontractors and business associates of these organizations should all have networks, systems and security measures in place to protect the patient data and ensure HIPAA compliance.
Digitalization of Healthcare and Insurance sectors has made HIPAA compliance more important. As more and more hospitals are moving towards digitization and maintain computerized health records, and electronic records for laboratory, radiology and pharmacy departments, the risk to patient data is increasing manifold. Similarly, Insurance companies are providing online access to claims, care management and other self-service applications to increase the efficiency and popularity of their services. But along with increasing the mobility of insurance solutions, they also create huge security risks for sensitive data.
In such scenario, the HIPAA compliance sets standards and rules to protect the sensitive patient information. The covered entities are allowed to adopt innovative technologies to improve the quality of their services, while ensuring that they have all the networks and process security systems in place to protect the patient’s information.
In order to ensure compliance, the covered entities must have the following physical and technical safeguards. HIPAA regulations cover three areas of business.
- Administrative compliance ensures that correct patient data is provided only to the authorized parties. To achieve administrative compliance you will have to document every privacy procedure, employ privacy officers, identify employees who can access the patient data, train the employees to work with HIPAA compliance and take measures to control data loss in times of emergencies.
- Physical compliance ensures that enough measures are taken to safeguard electronic patient data from theft or loss of electronic devices that store this data. You have to take measures such as keeping all the electronic devices in a safe place and limiting their access, making proper security arrangements and monitoring the visitors etc. to ensure that your devices are safe from physical theft.
- Technical compliance to ensure that enough security systems are in place to protect the electronic devices and networks from data breach and unauthorized users. for technical compliance, you have to take measures such as encrypting all the files you share, using high-end security systems to protect your networks from hackers, malware etc.
HIPAA compliance is a culture that every healthcare institution, health insurance providers and other businesses working with them have to incorporate in their daily business. All the employees must be trained and proper measures have to be taken to ensure physical safety of the devices and network safety.