HIPAA non-compliance fines can destroy your business. You know that, no doubt. But often the path to compliance can be confusing for medical businesses. Particularly in today’s technology-driven business world.
Compliance is way too broad a subject for one post. Let’s break it down into smaller subsections for ease of discussion.
Essentially, there are four rules that all HIPAA-regulated businesses must follow. The Privacy Rule, the Enforcement Rule, the Breach Notification Rule, and the Security Rule.
Today, we’re going to focus on the Security Rule. Here are three steps you can take to make sure you’re on point in meeting the security aspects of HIPAA compliance.
Related: Summary of the HIPAA security rule
Train staff and limit access
If your staff isn’t up to date on what HIPAA requires, there’s a high probability you will violate compliance. First and foremost, you MUST train your staff on the ins and outs of compliance.
Even better, to protect yourself it makes sense to limit the number and scope of employees who can access HIPAA-sensitive data in your business. For this, follow the principle of least privilege along with an increased focus on restricting access only to crucial, trusted employees.
Track access and ensure data integrity
Your technological security protocols should automatically restrict user and system access as mentioned above. They should also allow you to monitor who’s accessing what data and how, in case unauthorized activity occurs, especially if data is compromised or stolen from within your network.
Keep in mind, the protected health information (PHI) that HIPAA defines is among the most sensitive data businesses handle. You should have a way to track and supervise everyone who accesses it, and how they use it.
Furthermore, your technology needs to have proactive protections such as encryption that secures both the data and the network connections to transfer this data from one place to the other. A hallmark of PHI is that it almost never stays in one place forever. Be prepared.
Restrict physical access and prevent theft
Protecting the PHI in your network is one thing. But if you don’t protect the physical records in your office and restrict physical access to the devices on your network, you’re still violating compliance protocols.
Also, locations in your business that store sensitive data and devices that access it should have physical security barriers. These should include mandatory keycard access points to ensure that no unauthorized clients OR personnel have access to PHI.
While you’re at it, have a plan for how outdated devices will be cleared and disposed of to protect residual data from theft, as well as for how they will be moved from one facility to the next in the event you move to a new office.
A little planning goes a long way toward ensuring you don’t inadvertently violate HIPAA compliance.
HIPAA security too complex to handle without professional help?
If this VERY basic rundown sounds like too much risk to take on alone, we agree. Reach out to a Managed Services Provider with extensive experience in HIPAA compliance to assist you with developing and implementing your HIPAA-compliant strategy.
It could save you the kind of trouble that shuts down businesses permanently.