Top 6 Tips For HIPAA Compliance To Protect Your Health Data

The healthcare industry is much more than just patient care. With the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act in place, it’s essential that your practice maintain compliance with its regulations to protect patient privacy. Although staying up-to-date may seem intimidating at first glance, there are small steps you can take to make sure your organization remains compliant with HIPAA guidelines – providing peace of mind for both staff members and patients alike.

The healthcare sector is facing an urgent crisis of data security, with 17,000 patient records compromised daily. According to EMC/RSA’s 2013 whitepaper, nearly one-third of all reported breaches are linked to the industry – a number which could be further compounded by their heavy reliance on cloud technology; 91% use it but only 47% feel secure in its protection. These staggering numbers are a wake-up call for healthcare organizations and Netsec News is there to help – stay updated with the latest developments in network security news and find appropriate solutions so you can protect your patient’s data with confidence. HIPAA compliance is undeniably complex, with an ever-evolving set of regulations that healthcare organizations must abide by. To guarantee your data and information systems are protected to the highest standard, it’s essential you have reliable technology, procedures, policies, and training in place – such as encryption, firewalls, and access logs. If navigating this continuous challenge feels overwhelming – we’ve got 6 tips on how to stay compliant.

Top 6 Tips For HIPAA Compliance To Protect Your Health Data
Top 6 Tips For HIPAA Compliance To Protect Your Health Data

1. Check for vulnerabilities in your IT network and update

To check for vulnerabilities in your IT network, you can use a vulnerability scanner like Qualys or Nessus. These tools will scan your network for common weaknesses and give you a report of the findings so you can patch any holes in your system. You should also make sure that all of your software is up to date, as outdated software can be exploited by attackers. You can set most software applications to automatically update, or you can check for updates manually on a regular basis.   You should always monitor your network for vulnerabilities that could lead to a breach. You should also update your systems and software regularly to ensure they are up-to-date with the latest security patches. To ensure your organization is HIPAA compliant, first, you need to check for vulnerabilities in your IT network. Make sure you have the right IT security solutions in place. Maintain visibility into the storage of ePHI and EHRs. Keep records on access to your ePHI and EHRs. Develop and implement a HIPAA policy organization-wide.  

2. Implement security solutions

Data encryption is a process of transforming readable data into an unreadable format so that only authorized individuals with the correct decryption key can read it. This is important because if an attacker were to gain access to your network, they would not be able to read the encrypted data even if they were able to view it. Multi-factor authentication (MFA) is another security measure that can be implemented to help protect sensitive data. MFA requires users to provide two or more pieces of evidence (or “factors”) from different categories in order to prove their identity before being granted access to a system or application. For example, one factor could be something the user knows (like a password), while another factor could be something the user has (like a smart card). Routine software updates are also important for keeping your system secure against new threats that may arise over time; by keeping your software up to date, you can help close any newly discovered security holes that could be exploited by attackers. 

Furthermore, if there is no local presence of your company or provider in case something was ever compromised on their end this could create additional challenges as well because there would no longer be any way for them or an outside party like law enforcement might need access at some point down line due to an investigation into whether or not someone broke the law by accessing sensitive patient information without permission from those patients themselves first before doing so legally through proper channels such as requesting consent

3. Monitor all access to ePHI and keep records of access attempts

Access logs can provide valuable information about who is accessing what resources on your network and when they are doing so; this information can be helpful in identifying unauthorized activity or unusual patterns that might indicate an ongoing attack. To generate these logs, you’ll need to enable auditing on your systems and applications; most operating systems have built-in auditing capabilities that can be enabled through group policy settings or local security policies. Once auditing is enabled, you’ll need to periodically review the logs generated by your systems in order to look for any suspicious activity.

4. Develop and implement a HIPAA policy organization-wide that includes an Incident Response Plan.

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) is a federal law that establishes standards for protecting confidential patient health information. Any organization that handles protected health information (PHI) must comply with HIPAA requirements. One of the key requirements under HIPAA is the development and implementation of policies and procedures regarding the protection of PHI. These policies should include an incident response plan detailing how the organization will respond in the event of a breach or other unauthorized disclosure of PHI.

5. Undergo a HIPAA Assessment

and obtain a Certificate of Compliance A HIPAA assessment is an audit performed by a qualified third-party auditor to ensure that your organization is following all HIPAA requirements for the protection of PHI. The assessment will involve a detailed review of your policies and procedures, access logs, and other documentation related to PHI security. These assessments should evaluate all aspects of an organization’s HIPAA compliance program, including risk analysis, security, governance, privacy, training, etc.

Tips To Protect Your Health Data
Tips To Protect Your Health Data

6. Keep records of access

To help ensure compliance with HIPAA regulations, it’s important to keep track of who has accessed patient health information and when they accessed it. Most electronic health record (EHR) systems have built-in auditing capabilities that can be used to generate reports detailing this information. Alternatively, organizations can also keep manual logs detailing which employees accessed which PHI records and when they did so. By taking these simple steps, you can help protect your organization’s confidential information and ensure compliance with HIPAA regulations.

Final Words:

Maintaining a secure IT network is essential for any organization that handles confidential patient health information. By following the steps outlined above, you can help ensure that your network is secure against potential threats while also complying with applicable laws and regulations.

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