What is HIPAA Compliance

By hrlineup | 02.01.2020

Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) sets the standard of protection for patients’ sensitive data. It ensures that any company that handles Protected Health Information (PHI) has measures in place, whether in physical, network or in process, to keep that information safe and that those measures are adhered to. The categories of people who should be HIPAA compliance are for instance:

  • The covered entities-including those that provide treatment, payment and any operations in healthcare centers
  • Business associates- including anyone that has access to patient information and is involved in the treatment, payment or operations in healthcare centers
  • Subcontractors and every other related business associate

HIPAA privacy and security rule

The HIPAA privacy rule and the standards the Act sets for privacy of individually identifiable health information determines the national standards for the protection of particular type of health information. In addition to this, the security rule determines the standards for protection of specific types of health information that is held or transferred electronically. The security rule is what sets the privacy rule’s protection in operation as it addresses both the technical and nontechnical protections that the covered entities must put in place so as to secure patients’ electronic protected health information (ePHI).

What is the health insurance portability and accountability act compliance?

According to the U.S department of Health and Human Services (HHS), HIPAA compliance is a must have today since health care providers and other bodies that deal with protected health information have shifted to computerized operations such as computerized physician order entry systems, laboratory, pharmacy and radiology systems and electronic health records among others. The electronic methods are preferred because they increase efficiency and allow for mobility but they also significantly increase security risks to healthcare data. The security rule is meant to protect the privacy of patient health information in such instances at the same time allowing the compliant bodies to utilize new technologies that will help them improve the quality and efficiency of their services.

The security rule is actually very flexible as it allows compliant bodies to implement policies, technologies and procedures that match with their size, the structure of their organization and the amount of risk the electronic protected health information is facing.

Reason why HIPAA is important in healthcare industries:

There are certain standards that have necessitated HIPAA in the healthcare sector. These are:

  • The need to secure and confidentially store patients’ data
  • Better coordination of healthcare data in an organization as a result of standardization of data formats
  • The need to reduce paper involvement in the management of healthcare records
  • The need to do away with reporting and filing requirements that are health plan-specific for both hospitals and healthcare providers.
  • To help healthcare providers and industries avoid sanctions that come as a result of mishandling of data records as well as data breeches.

Meeting the health insurance portability and accountability act compliance

Data security in the healthcare sector becomes even more important as electronic patient data grows. In order to be seen as providing great quality healthcare services, healthcare organizations have to meet the increasing demand for data and still be able to adhere to HIPAA compliance requirements as well as keep the protected health information safe. To achieve all this, the entities have to have a data protection strategy in place. This is the only way to stay safe from data breeches and HIPAA violation fines. This is what the HIPAA compliance program must address:

  1. Self audits: it is a requirement by HIPAA for healthcare organizations to conduct audits for their practices annually that will cover administrative, technical and physical gaps that are not in line with HIPAA privacy and security standards.
  2. Remediation plans: once the gaps addressed above have been identified, the organizations should have proper remediation plans in place to deal with any HIPAA violations
  3. Policies, procedures and employee training: there should be policies and procedures that correspond to HIPAA standards that will be geared towards helping the organization avoid any violations in the future. The organization should also show employee training on those policies and procedures.
  4. Documentation: the organizations should have documents showing its efforts to comply with HIPAA requirements.
  5. Business associate management: the organization should also document anyone that has access to its protected health information and agreements that ensure that the said information is handled securely.