In the last decade, 230,954,151 health records have been stolen or exposed. That represents over 69.78% of the US population.
HIPAA IT compliance is becoming more important than ever as our reliance on technology increases. This $5 trillion industry won’t slow down soon.
Read our HIPAA compliance checklist for IT professionals. It will show you the safeguards you’re required to follow and how to use them in your business.
HIPAA IT Compliance Checklist
HIPAA’s Security Rule regulates the use of ePHI or electronic personal health information. This includes instating administrative, physical, and technical safeguards.
Administrative safeguards refer to how an organization should be run. They involve making plans and policies that keep ePHI out of the wrong hands.
There are two types of administrative safeguards; addressable and required. The latter means organizations should take all reasonable measures to implement them. The latter means they’ll face major fines and consequences if they don’t.
There are also several types of administrative HIPAA compliance IT requirements. They include risk analysis and management, information access management, a contingency plan, and more.
Risk Analysis and Management
Risk Analysis is a required safeguard. It’s also one of the most often ignored HIPAA compliance IT requirements. It involves assessing the organization as a whole for any security risks. It must be completed and repeated on a regular basis.
Risk Management is another required safeguard that occurs after a complete risk analysis. It involves using any necessary strategies to reduce identified security risks.
Information Access Management
Information Access Management ensures that only the right people have access. IT departments ensure this by updating passwords, securing databases, and removing unwanted users.
There are several components to the Information Access Management safeguard. Some of them are addressable, and some are not.
Isolating Healthcare Clearinghouse Functions is required. This applies if a clearinghouse is part of a healthcare organization. They must isolate ePHI and protect it from unauthorized access.
Access Authorization and Access Establishment and Modification are both addressable. They relate to those with authorized access to ePHI information. You must provide them with safe access.
The Contingency Plan safeguard protects organizations in all situations. They must know exactly what they’re going to do in the event of a disaster. This includes natural disasters and/or technical issues.
Every organization’s contingency plan must contain three parts. A data backup plan decides how to retrieve copies of lost ePHI. A disaster recovery plan accounts for any lost data. An emergency recovery plan ensures business continues as normal.
A Sanction Policy sets consequences for workers who’ve failed to follow HIPAA standards. It involves making staff aware of the policies and any changes to them. It also involves communicating with them as soon as any violations occur.
The Information System Activity Review safeguard requires all organizations to have a log system. It keeps a record of all activity related to the usage or transmission of ePHI. It must also be able to create reports based on this data.
Assigned Security Responsibility requires organizations to hire a security official. This person oversees all their HIPAA compliance policies procedures. It’s a great place for a member of the IT department who’s well-versed in HIPAA law.
Workforce Security mandates that all workers must have all necessary usage rights. Authorization, supervision, and termination processes must also be in place.
Security Awareness and Training is essential for all members. It keeps them updated on the ever-changing world of HIPAA requirements and IT developments.
The Security Incident Procedures Safeguard protects ePHI in two ways. First, it requires that organizations address and respond to any security threats. Second, it requires reports of the incident to prevent repeat events.
The final administrative safeguard is Evaluation. Organizations must conduct regular technical and non-technical evaluations of their compliance policies.
Hacking into an online database isn’t the only way a thief can access ePHI information. That’s why the Facility Access Control safeguard exists. Organizations must limit physical access to the machines and locations storing their data.
The Workstation Use safeguard regulates how and who can use workstations that provide access to ePHI records. The Workplace Security safeguard ensures they’re protected from unauthorized access.
The Device and Media Controls safeguard protects against the misuse of information on mobile devices. If they contain ePHI, it must be backed up and wiped from the device before it’s disposed of.
Access Control is the basis of any safe database, and that makes it the heart of HIPAA IT compliance as well. It involves ensuring that only the right individuals can access information. It’s achieved through password protection and encryption.
Audit Controls are a type of software, hardware, or procedure. They monitor the activity of IT systems that use or contain ePHI. They make sending in reports easier.
Integrity controls are any measures you use to protect ePHI from unauthorized access. Event log software is one of the best ways to protect patient information.
The Person or Entity Authentication safeguard regulates which users enter your database. It requires that you have measures in place to authenticate users.
The Transmission Security safeguard ensures that organizations protect ePHI while it’s in motion. This includes measures such as encrypting information and requiring passwords from recipients.
Maintaining HIPAA compliance for IT professionals can be difficult. It involves getting the right software and programs for every type of message you need to send. Check here or a compliant HIPAA Fax system.
Where Can I Learn More?
HIPAA IT compliance laws protect IT companies and the health providers they work for. They keep them from facing major fines and legal consequences.
You must know all the different regulations you need to follow. You must also know whether they’re addressable or required.
Having a checklist on hand is one of the best ways to ensure you remember all the policies you need to enact. You also need to stay educated on any changes to the law or the technology you use.
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