Information Security

What is HIPAA Compliance? Learn How to Comply with HIPAA

Companies have laws and rules by which sensitive and secret information is kept safe. Any company knows that in the digital arena of today’s world, the physical threat of theft may not be as dire as the digital threat. With advancing technology and every action undertaken online, including information storage, there is the fear of data theft. With regard to healthcare concerns, it is imperative that data is secure. This is sensitive and patient and staff information must be stored securely aligned with HIPAA compliance rules.

HIPAA Compliance Explained

In 1996, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, or HIPAA, came into existence. HIPAA is a set of regulations that promotes standardization for the protection of patient data in the healthcare system. Patient data and details are sensitive and need safety from the entry into the wrong hands. HIPAA is used by any healthcare businesses, clinics, hospitals, insurance firms, etc. The Department of Health and Human Services, or HHS, is the authority that regulates HIPAA compliance. The enforcement of the act, conducted by the OCR, or the Office of Civil Rights, has advantages for healthcare providers.

More About Compliance

You may wonder why any healthcare provider needs compliance at all. Today, compliance, especially HIPAA compliance is necessary and more important than ever due to threats from digital cyberattacks. As more and more entities in the healthcare system are evolving into a completely digital way of working, it is imperative that compliance is in place. The methods of data collection, processing and storage is all done digitally today. This is advanced and saves time and effort, leading to more efficiency in operations. Nonetheless, the security of sensitive information is a must, and compliance translates to the fulfillment of HIPAA legislation.

In case firms are non-HIPAA compliant, there is not much action that can be taken in the event of a data breach. To be compliant with HIPAA laws, firms need to meet certain criteria. The first thing to know is the types of companies under the purview of HIPAA compliance.

Conformation to HIPAA

There are essentially two kinds of companies that enjoy coverage of HIPAA. These are highlighted below:

  • Entities which are covered 
  • Whichever entity is the provider of treatment, payment, operations and any health-related transactions, compliance is a necessary condition for the company to function. Such companies are responsible for the creation, collection, transmission and storage of sensitive patient health information, all which exist in a digital framework. As a result, HIPAA compliance has providers of health insurance and healthcare, and clearinghouses of healthcare under its umbrella.
  • Associates of businesses 
  • Companies having access to patient health information and records, and which may give support to primary health-related facilities are associates. Examples of these include consultants of a third-party nature, providers of cloud storage, providers of IT services, billing and payroll firms, management firms, electronic healthcare record sites and platforms, etc.

Compliance with HIPAA

There are seven compliance elements according to the Office of the HSS Inspector General. If you want your program of compliance to run effectively, keeping you and your patients safe, here is how you assess compliance resolutions and grow your own programs:

  1. Adopt the Privacy Rule and Security Rule of HIPAA compliance.
  2. Implement company written procedures and policies regarding a stipulated conduct code and company ethics. In this way, have a compliance corporate plan, a disaster management plan, acknowledgement plan and training and appropriate action plans in place.
  3. Assign an officer to check and deal with compliance issues. You can set up a committee for compliance too.
  4. Impart efficient HIPAA compliance training for employees.
  5. Lines of communication should always be open among all cadres of staff and patients.
  6. Internal audits should be regular and monitored.
  7. Disciplinary action guidelines should be made clear and publicized.
  8. Disciplinary action should be enforced consistently and promptly, aligned with HIPAA compliance rules.

Compliance and Safety

The cornerstone of success in any organization, whether related to healthcare or otherwise, is in the way it abides by HIPAA compliance. In the field of healthcare, there is more sensitive information at stake than, perhaps, in other fields. Compliance has to count for how an organization operates. With compliance laws in place, and the timely execution of these, trust among patients develops. Checks and balances are very crucial before any company begins its management and operations. Without these, it cannot guarantee customer or patient security regarding private data. When companies, like those that deal with healthcare experience compliance issues, only HIPAA compliance can mitigate situations effectively.

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