The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) is a set of viable guidelines that dictates the security of health information which is stored/ transmitted via an electronic medium. These guidelines are subject to change in a timely fashion and the medical practitioners ought to keep themselves updated with these changes and ensure that their billing is compliant with the HIPAA security standards. Failure to do so attracts large penalties and also risks confidential patient info coming out in the open. Here are five simple tips that can help any medical practitioner to keep compliant with the HIPAA standards.
Seek Professional Help
HIPAA is primarily a technical issue that involves data security, and one must seek help from experts who understand the system accurately. Hiring an expert HIPAA consultant will help make it easy to incorporate new safety features, which can help keep the data under strict lock and key. This will also help cover the necessary security compliance measures imposed by the system, thus eliminating chances of fines and penalties.
Invest in Suitable Offline Storage
Most heath care establishments tend to disregard the importance of good offline storage for various reasons. However, having a suitable data backup plan must be one of the top priorities of data management of any degree. Having offline copies of every report will help prevent any loss in case the online system corrupts. This does not mean you have to transcribe the digital data into physical copies, but only that you should have a backup of the online data in an offline cloud storage, which cannot be accessed through an online channel. This is essentially a failsafe mechanism, where if the online storage system is breached, you can easily purge the data therein, yet have access to all the necessary data for future use at your disposal with ease.
Secure your Biomedical Tools
Health IT security often takes the security of biomedical devices such as MRI’s and associated equipment very casually. Modern versions of these devices are generally connected to an online network to make it easy to transmit and save necessary diagnostic data. Thus, this equipment also ought to be secured properly to avoid any data breach. Most vendors refuse to tinker with the software processes citing that the device is FDA approved and it cannot be tampered with. However, vendors are required by law to comply with the cyber security guidelines put forth by the authoritative bodies, hence you should involve them to take shared responsibility in securing such medical devices.
Update Security Systems Periodically
Information security should be updated regularly in order to counter new vulnerabilities in the system that may arise due to IT development. Having a suitable IT system/ department will ensure that the current security resources are upgraded in tandem with the industry requirements. Modern IT often relies on multiple devices, systems and security features working in tandem to keep the digital data as secure as possible. These security plans ought to be reviewed periodically, ensuring that it offers a suitable cover for a significant period.
Set Up a Compliance Plan
A suitable compliance plan will help educate your employees about the HIPAA requirements, thus enabling them to operate in accordance with the requirements. It is a good move to appoint a security officer to oversee the privacy of the systems, which will help the facility to be in compliance with the HIPAA guidelines at all times.
Healthcare data security will only get challenging in the coming years. Learning about the evolution of data management and cyber security in a healthcare setting will help you to understand the necessities and future requirements with relative ease, thus allowing you to stay prepared for the future.
- Chaput, B. (2017). HIPAA Compliance . Retrieved April 23, 2017, from www.healthforum.com: http://www.healthforum.com/connect/resources/pdf-files/clearwater-2015-0129-wp-managedcare.pdf
- Garner, J. (2017). 5 Tips to Prepare for HIPAA Audit. Retrieved April 23, 2017, from http://onlinecompliancepanel.com: http://onlinecompliancepanel.com/article/5-Tips-to-Prepare-for-HIPAA-Audit-ART600087;jsessionid=63678FA0B072535A5A39B67EBF989161.jvm1
- Hein, T. R. (2017, March 08). 5 Tips For Tackling HIPAA Compliance Challenges. Retrieved April 23, 2017, from www.healthitoutcomes.com: https://www.healthitoutcomes.com/doc/tips-for-tackling-hipaa-compliance-challenges-0001
- McDonald, T. (2016, April 26). Healthcare IT Practices to Help Ensure HIPAA Compliance. Retrieved April 23, 2017, from www.nsiserv.com: http://www.nsiserv.com/blog/healthcare-it-practices-to-help-ensure-hipaa-compliance