How to be HIPAA Compliant in 2022
Cybersecurity and customer privacy are two of the biggest issues every company has to deal with now.
02:29 24 June 2022
Cybersecurity and customer privacy are two of the biggest issues every company has to deal with now. It’s particularly important in healthcare as the industry deals with people’s health history. An individual’s medical data is so valuable that one medical record can fetch around $250 or more on the black market.
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) has done a lot to protect medical information.
Healthcare organizations are now required to become HIPAA compliant if they want to continue operating. Companies that work with organizations in healthcare or handle Protected Health Information (PHI) should also be HIPAA compliant.
This is easier said than done as cybersecurity threats are always changing. Regular HIPAA training for business associates and constant risk assessments are some ways to keep your company compliant.
Here are other steps you should take to ensure your company is compliant for 2022.
Develop Security and Privacy Systems for Your Company
The HIPAA has several rules companies should follow. The Privacy Rule and Breach Notification Rule are two examples. Aside from sticking to HIPAA guidelines, covered entities and business associates should also create their privacy and security policies. These should be documented and explained to all workers.
Company compliance policies should be updated regularly. Employees must also undergo an annual HIPAA training for business associates or covered entities. Participants must certify in writing they understand HIPAA rules and procedures.
Consider COVID’s Effect on HIPAA
The coronavirus pandemic has changed healthcare and HIPAA compliance. Make sure you take COVID-19 into account when you plan your physical security, cybersecurity, and compliance protocols.
Priority should be given to telehealth and remote work as these have resulted in PHI being managed in more locations, and even from personal devices. Strict policies on device control and ownership should be a key element in compliance policies.
Elect HIPAA Privacy and Security Officers
HIPAA policies are always being updated. Having everyone try to keep up with all the changes can be confusing. A company’s best option is to hire a Privacy Officer or a Security Officer.
A Privacy Compliance Officer will be in charge of the development and implementation of the company’s privacy policies. A large organization should have a Privacy Oversight Committee. The Privacy Officer and committee members must train regularly to keep up with ever-changing HIPAA rules.
Covered entities also need to designate a Security Officer. It’s the Security Officer’s job to ensure robust security systems are in place. They’re also charged with detecting and responding to data breaches.
Apply Security Safeguards
Covered entities and business associates are required to have three types of security safeguards in place. These are:
Administrative Precautions: Companies are mandated to document their security management processes. They have to assign security personnel, provide security training for their personnel, and use an information access management system. They also have to evaluate their security protocols regularly.
Physical Safeguards: Access to physical locations where ePHI is stored should be controlled. Organizations should also work to secure all devices and workstations that transmit or store personal health information.
Technical Buffers: it’s also crucial for organizations to secure ePHI in their Electronic Health Record systems. Access controls to these databases will ensure workers only see the data they need. Data should be encrypted and a secure email system made. There should be audit controls for all software and hardware that transmits ePHI.
Do Self-Audits and Risk Assessments
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) mandated that all covered entities and businesses associated undergo regular audits of all their safeguards. It will help identify loopholes and vulnerabilities in their compliance policies. These companies will then develop remediation plans. This written document must show in detail what the organization plans to do to resolve its HIPAA violation. It should also include a timetable for the solution implementation.
Set Up Breach Notification Protocols
HIPAA violations are not an automatic black mark against a company. The breach could be accidental, and the company did everything it could to prevent such an occurrence. But failure to report a security breach is a different matter.
The HIPAA Breach Notification Rule explicitly states that healthcare organizations and their associates must report all breaches. They also have to notify patients that their data might be compromised. Organizations must also have a documented process detailing how they will comply with the breach notification process.
HIPAA compliance is crucial for healthcare organizations and the third-party entities that assist them. It’s only right that covered entities and business associates follow all the steps necessary to remain HIPAA compliant this year.