HIPAA compliance rules require that providers protect information that they keep or send out electronically. If the transmission of information is under contract to others, the same rules apply to them. Others handling information are “covered entities” and this includes health care providers, health plans, health care clearinghouses and business associates. A covered entity could be a doctor, clinic staff, psychologist, dentist, chiropractor, nursing home staff or a pharmacy. If any of these entities transmit healthcare information electronically, they must abide by HIPAA Compliance Rules. Beyond that, a business associate who contracts to send or receive information must have a business associate contract that spells out the HIPAA Compliance Rules that apply to them.
This can be a difficult task for small to medium sized businesses as it takes time and resources to ensure this is done correctly and according to government mandates. Federal standards defend the HIPAA Privacy Rules that safeguard the privacy of patient medical records and any other health information that involves patient care. This coverage extends to the Veterans Health Administration, Medicare and Medicaid and any other agencies providing health care. The privacy rules also require the covered entities to provide patient access to medical records held by a provider or an organization. Company and Provider Security HIPAA Compliance Rules do not dictate the kind of security that a provider or company must have in place. They expect that a security officer or IT person can examine all methods available and choose the best the company can afford to use in protecting patient information transmission.
Outside companies providing services involving your healthcare must use or disclose health information properly. Those outside service companies could include billing, claims, health plans, lawyers, IT specialists, and storage and retrieval or destruction entities.
Here at iSheriff, we have experience with HIPAA security plans. Yours must including the following steps in order to be successful and within the mandates set out by the Federal Government:
- Identify the best person to lead the HIPAA compliance effort in your workplace
- Illustrate the flow of medical data and its handlers
- Assess the risks where medical information destinations occur
- Implement encryption methodology where information is flowing to portable devices
- Use strong passwords where others receive access to patient healthcare information
- Plan ahead for an annual review of HIPAA compliance rules
- Where you need the help of an expert, seek it out
Whatever it takes to protect the patient, health information or records is in the hands of management to evaluate and apply. HIPAA is there to protect patient data and must apply to all areas where that data may reside.
For more information about HIPAA compliance and why it’s critical for your organization, check out our latest white paper- Why Cyber Criminals Target Healthcare Data and What They’re Getting.