HIPAA Compliance Management
Ensuring HIPAA compliance is a must for numerous entities. With this being the case, understanding whether you’re a part of this group and what’s involved in accomplishing and maintaining compliance is essential in a plethora of industries.
Companies handling protected health information (PHI) must put physical, process, and network security measures in place and uphold them to maintain the appropriate standards. However, entities providing payment, treatment, and operations in healthcare also must adhere to HIPPA compliance. Even business associates providing support in treatment, payment, or operations with access to patient information find meeting HIPAA criteria is necessary. Subcontractors, along with any relating business associates, also have to be compliant with HIPAA.
Throughout this article, we’ll discuss a brief overview of HIPAA, what it takes to be compliant, and a tool to facilitate compliance management.
High-Level Overview of HIPAA
Protecting some health information is ideal, giving a good reason as to why the HIPAA Privacy Rule exists. With this rule, national standards were put in place to secure medical records and other personal health information.
The HIPAA Privacy Rule puts safeguards in place to ensure personal health information remains private while setting limits and conditions on uses and disclosures of the information without first obtaining patient authorization.
As computerized operations become a significant component of the way health care providers and other organizations handle PHI, HIPAA compliance grows even more critical. And as these electronic methods are boosting efficiency and mobility, the security risks relating to healthcare data are at an all-time high.
What is the HIPAA Security Rule?
The HIPAA Security Rule created a set of national criteria to protect electronic personal health information that a covered entity is creating, receiving, using, or maintaining. With this rule, safeguards — administrative, physical, and technical — are in place to maintain electronic protected health information confidentiality, integrity, and security.
While companies may want to do business within the healthcare vertical without offering healthcare services, it’s still essential to abide by the HIPAA Security Rule. With this being the case, knowing how this impacts your company and how to achieve compliance is vital for those looking to achieve success in the healthcare vertical.
Which Companies Are Affected by the HIPAA Security Rule?
Well, for starters, if you’re handling individual information in the healthcare vertical, your business is likely impacted by this rule. This means health plans, clearinghouses, and system vendors must achieve HIPAA compliance security standards.
The HIPAA Security Rule takes into account several factors, including the general nature of the standards these companies are being held to, the scalability of these standards, and that the standards do not depend on certain technologies. Taking these factors into consideration ensures covered entities can implement the necessary changes without having a significant impact on resources.
By assuming that the majority of these covered entities have already established some sort of security measures, the idea is that the covered entities can simply identify the gaps. In essence, the idea is to ensure these entities have an easy time establishing or changing their security precautions to meet HIPAA criteria.
The measures in place explain the goals while providing some flexibility regarding how entities can achieve them. Thus, all covered entities don’t have to use the same implementation guide to achieve compliance. Instead, the security processes these entities currently have in place can be brought together with the new processes, lessening compliance costs significantly as a result.
Large health plans and health care clearinghouses currently exchanging health information with their trading partners usually have security systems and procedures protecting the information they utilize. With this being the case, there are likely only small revisions or updates necessary to these sophisticated systems.
Small providers don’t always have the same level of sophistication in their security measures. However, these measures aren’t always necessary for these smaller providers. These companies can take advantage of the scalability principle as they’re allowed to adopt less in-depth measures that fit their security needs.
In essence, not all HIPAA standards apply to all businesses. Some companies need intense security measures in place. However, others might require minimal measures. The way the HIPAA Security Rule impacts entities ultimately depends on their necessities.
While this might seem like a lot of information to process, becoming HIPAA compliant is easy when you use a tool to manage your compliance. This is where we can help.