HIPAA compliance is the most important standard for organizations in the medical field. Learn how eSOZO can help “your tech team” navigate the regulations.
Healthcare organizations throughout the country understand the consequences of violating HIPAA compliance, but how can you ensure that your technology team fully understands the requirements and won’t inadvertently cause you to miss a rule? The severe civil and criminal penalties involved can apply to both individuals and covered entities, and happen when the national standards that require administrative, physical and technical safeguards for protected health information are not followed exactly. Health care plans, clearinghouses, and health care providers are all required to follow these strict guidelines anytime protected health information (PHI) is being transmitted in electronic form. Fortunately, your tech team at eSOZO can help check all the boxes required by the government to ensure that your organization is fully HIPAA compliant.
What is HIPAA Compliance?
HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996) compliance is mandated by the OCR, or Office of Civil Rights, and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). When an organization is considered to be HIPAA-compliant, it means that they are following the regulatory rules as laid out by the government and are:
- Controlling how data is regulated internally and disclosed externally
- Utilizing internal controls and formal policies to manage data security and risk
- Security incidents and potential data breaches of regulated data are responded to quickly and within required boundaries
While this is a simplified overview, the audit protocol and requirements are relatively complex and require that an organization is able to prove that reasonable decisions drove the course of action taken around PHI.
Requirements for HIPAA Compliance
Organizations are under increased pressure to ensure that HIPAA requirements are fully addressed and that critically required specifications are implemented. The OCR continually audits organizations to ensure they’re meeting these stringent standards and companies who are not are left with hefty fines and penalties. Becoming HIPAA compliant requires the following actions, to name a few:
- No PHI routed over insecure channels of communication, such as SMS texting, Skype, and email — as copies of communication may be left behind on a server that is not controlled by the healthcare organization
- Unique identifiers for each medical professional who is authorized to access PHI
- All PHI must be encrypted in transit both to and from the healthcare organization
- A disaster recovery plan is in place to quickly regain control of PHI in the event of an emergency
- Independent audit programs that manage app and backend access permission modification, establishment and termination are in place for each covered entity
- Adoption of a standard risk management framework, beginning with an introductory risk assessment
- Implementation of stringent security controls
How Technology Supports HIPAA Requirements
Maintaining the audit requirements of full HIPAA compliance can be difficult and expensive for a small technology team, so many practices choose to outsource compliance protocols and audit to an external tech team. There are many benefits to this approach: an outsourced tech team allows your organization to focus on your core competencies while resting assured those complexities of full HIPAA compliance are being handled. Your organization’s IT team is able to focus on driving the business forward through technology enablement, instead of spending time with audit requirements and documentation. Maintain full HIPAA compliance within your organization by partnering with eZOSO for these functions:
- Employee Training: Training your staff is only the first step — training must also be tracked and verified in order to maintain HIPAA compliance.
- Risk Assessment: A full risk assessment includes Privacy, Administrative, Technical, and Security requirements — and a remediation plan that can be put into place quickly to ensure that your organization returns to full compliance as soon as possible.
- Verified Compliance: Show prospects and patients that their confidentiality is of the utmost importance with verifying compliance with HIPAA regulations.
- Dedicated Support: When you need a quick answer to your HIPAA questions, your tech team should be immediately available and able to walk you through creating a culture of compliance within your organization.
- Breach Support: Should the unthinkable happen and your organization suffers a breach, it is important that your tech team understands how to react and provide immediate resolution for data breaches.
When it’s important for your healthcare organization to provide HIPAA compliance, look for a partner who deeply understands the requirements of this complex regulatory body. At eSOZO Computer and Network Services, our professionals work closely with you to define your needs and harden the protection around your data, as well as training your staff and supporting proactive auditing. Our years of experience with HIPAA are proven as we have a 100% HHS / OCR audit pass rate, and can offer your healthcare organization the peace of mind knowing that your tech team will be there when you need them. Call us today at (888) 376-9648 to learn more about getting started, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Author: Aaron White, Date: 26th June 2017
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