How to Become HIPAA Compliant
HIPAA compliance is of utmost importance for any business that handles private health information (PHI). If you are not currently HIPAA compliant or are unsure of what steps to take to become compliant, this blog post is for you! We’ll discuss what HIPAA is, why compliance is important, and two different ways to go about becoming HIPAA compliant.
What is HIPAA?
HIPAA stands for Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, which began in 1996. This legislation protects sensitive health information by regulating security and data privacy measures.
Because of the increase in healthcare data breaches caused by ransomware assaults and cyber attacks, the need for compliance with HIPAA has become more drastically clear in recent years. Healthcare organizations must be familiar with and fully comply with each HIPAA rule to fully protect patient data and avoid fines and actions that put PHI at risk.
Why is HIPAA Important?
HIPAA compliance is important because it protects patients’ information and privacy. When patient data is breached, it affects not only the patients, but also the healthcare organization’s reputation. In some cases, patients may lose trust in the organization and seek treatment elsewhere.
There are also financial implications—if a healthcare organization is fined for non-compliance, total financial damages can number in the millions of dollars. The financial implications that can come from non-compliance with HIPAA are hefty, and with cyber criminals targeting healthcare as a vulnerable industry, it’s well worth it to take action to fully comply with HIPAA’s cybersecurity requirements.
How to Comply With HIPAA
It’s critical to understand how to comply with HIPAA regulations if you run a medical practice or have access to sensitive health-related data. The do-it-yourself approach and working with an experienced HIPAA consultant are the two most common methods for ensuring that you are completely compliant.
Do It Yourself
If you want to achieve HIPAA compliance on your own, you’ll need to be familiar with each of the six HIPAA Rules plus the HITECH Act, and their full list of standards. (This is a summary of just one of those rules, the HIPAA Security Rule.) Keep the following checklists and tools handy to ensure that you satisfy all criteria:
- HIPAA Self-Assessment Checklist: This is a useful tool that has a complete list of HIPAA criteria and lets you tick things off as you’ve completed them. You should continue to utilize this checklist as a reference every time you check or update your compliance status.
- Risk Assessment Tools: Risk assessment tools can help you find security flaws in your company’s security that could result in noncompliance. The National Coordinator for Health Information Technology’s risk assessment tool might assist you in determining where risks may apply to your company.
- HIPAA Security Rule Toolkit: This NIST toolkit helps you comply with the Security Rule over time, and it’s especially useful for companies that have recently restructured their IT systems.
If you’re going to do the do-it-yourself route, make sure you have all the tools you’ll need to fully comply with HIPAA regulations. Even if you do have dedicated IT support staff, keeping all of your company’s systems up to speed may be difficult.
Work with a HIPAA Compliance Expert
If you want to ensure that you are compliant with HIPAA, working with an IT provider that’s experienced with helping organizations become HIPAA compliant is the best option. Your provider will be able to help you put all of the necessary safeguards in place and make sure that your systems are secure with minimal time and effort needed from you.
The experience, tools, and knowledge that a healthcare-focused MSP has can help your company achieve HIPAA compliance. Your provider should be well-versed in HIPAA rules and regulations, as well as the technology required to keep your IT department functioning optimally and securely.
Get Help with Your HIPAA Compliance
HIPAA compliance can be daunting, but it’s important to ensure the privacy of your patients’ data and the continued success of your organization. ISG Technology is here to help you with all of your HIPAA compliance needs. We have a team of experts that will work with you to make sure that your systems are secure, compliant, and optimized for your organization’s needs. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you!