HIPAA compliance is something that all organizations dealing with health records have to comply to for the sake of patient privacy. If you’re new to this industry and just learning what HIPAA stands for, it stands for the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act that makes sure all protected health information isn’t compromised.
But what IT steps should you take in order to make sure that happens? Those who overlook these things potentially face steep fines as well as thwarting patient trust.
You have to assure that only authorized personnel have access to medical files containing private information. This includes specific policies about who takes over workstations and who gains access to electronic documents. In those policies should also be a careful plan making sure health data doesn’t get compromised when being moved to another location or when it’s being destroyed.
Encryption and Audits of Electronic Documents
Encryption is going to be imperative when storing health documents in the cloud. With so much concern over hackers gaining access to electronic documents, a solid encryption system will bring the best possible safeguards HIPAA expects.
Audits complement encryption by providing a trail of who’s been accessing those electronic documents. You have to keep a close watch on who signs in and stop anyone who isn’t authorized. Fortunately, many electronic document programs have excellent logs that let you keep track of who’s been accessing the files.
Providing Disaster Recovery and Backup
You and your patients don’t want medical files missing if your building is destroyed during a natural disaster. HIPAA expects you to prove you have a reliable backup system that can be quickly accessed as part of a disaster recovery process. You should be able to move to another location and access those records in the cloud without any downtime. This can allow a continuity as if nothing happened and allows patients to access their files whenever they need them.
Proving Network Security
You’ll also need to prove some sort of network security that keeps your systems running as safely as possible. Things like virus software and firewalls will need to be employed and assured to be working or updated correctly. Security expectations extend not only into the cloud but also your email systems or Wi-Fi signals.
Keep in mind that any violation of these things could impose even stiffer fines based on The Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act. This was an amendment that reinforces HIPAA to impose larger fines for companies willfully not complying to the regulations.
Yes, you could call it a psychological response to get companies to step it up in compliance. It’s also because so many companies are increasing the use of electronic documentation.
Here at AE Technology Group, we can help you get HIPAA compliant easily with our cloud solutions and other IT services.
Contact us about the comprehensive options we offer and how we can cover every angle. We work to understand your business first so we know exactly what you need rather than provide tech that may be superfluous.