Healthcare organizations adopted their own HIPAA compliance regulations back in 1996, and since then HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) has become the standard for how medical data is handled and stored—it has never been the same.
As technology has advanced, so has the need for protective security measures against cyber threats—so they’re not one of the many that experience cyberattacks out of the 2,200 that happen daily. Compliance requires a deep understanding of the regulations set forth by HIPAA as well as steps to ensure that HIPAA regulations are met such as:
- Understanding the rules
- Assessing what applies to you
- Conducting a risk analysis
- Making a HIPAA plan
- Finding and addressing any HIPAA gaps
- Detailed HIPAA documentation
This guide provides an overview of compliance, including who needs to worry about HIPAA, what rules and steps need to be taken to ensure compliance, and how organizations can find and address gaps in their plans.
Who Needs to Worry About HIPAA?
Knowing if this affects you can be the difference between compliance and HIPAA violations. HIPAA applies to healthcare organizations such as:
- Health insurance companies
- Doctor’s offices and pharmacies
But more so, any business that stores or processes private patient data—even if you don’t store patient information directly, HIPAA applies if your company is a third-party contractor that handles patient data so you’re not in the clear just yet.
Understanding HIPAA Rules and Regulations
Not being compliant can call for some hefty fines and possible criminal penalties, so understanding HIPAA rules and regulations can save you more than just your reputation. HIPAA compliance requires:
- Organizations to keep all patient information secure
- Ensuring that anyone who has access to the data is trained on HIPAA laws
- Developing a policy manual detailing how HIPAA laws will be enforced within the organization
- Ensuring that HIPAA security measures are in place for all data transfers
HIPAA compliance begins with understanding the full scope of HIPAA regulations and conducting a risk analysis to identify potential risks to PHI. Organizations must determine what level of privacy, security, and notification is necessary for compliance and document their findings in a security plan.
But they don’t have to do it alone. Compliance is an arduous process, one that requires accurate and up-to-date knowledge of HIPAA regulations and any changes over the years. There are organizations like Telewire that are here to navigate the HIPAA compliance process with you so you’re not left unaware and unprepared.
Making a Plan
Now that you’ve identified risks, it’s time to make a plan of action—one that details compliance best practices and measures to protect patient data. The HIPAA Security Rule is one that you don’t want to break. It requires organizations to maintain administrative, physical, and technical safeguards, as well as an incident response plan including risk management, training of personnel, and oversight of all operations.
That way, there are no HIPAA violations. But it doesn’t stop there—they also require organizations to regularly review, test and update their policies and procedures in order to maintain compliance. HIPAA regulations are not a one-time process—it’s an ongoing effort that requires consistent monitoring and assessment.
Finding and Addressing HIPAA Gaps
This step isn’t a one-time deal—it’s an ongoing process. HIPAA requires organizations to regularly assess their compliance, find any gaps and address them immediately. With the help of experienced compliance consultants such as Telewire, organizations can identify HIPAA compliance lapses quickly and effectively—saving time, money, and preventing possible violations.
There’s nothing like having documentation to back up your compliance. HIPAA requires organizations to document policies, procedures, and activities in order to provide proof of their compliance efforts. Detailed HIPAA documentation should include:
- Policy manual
- Incident response plan
- Security plan
- Training records
- Audit logs
Get Compliant with Telewire
Telewire not only has experience with HIPAA compliance, but we take it a step further by staying on the cutting edge of HIPAA regulations. We can help you understand HIPAA, create a plan and stay compliant with HIPAA laws.
Our HIPAA audit service is perfect for organizations that want to ensure their compliance efforts are up-to-date and being met. Contact us today to never have to worry about HIPAA compliance again.