Enacted in 1996, HIPAA sets the benchmark for businesses in the healthcare industry, ensuring the protection of patient health information. With evolving cybersecurity threats, adhering to HIPAA's standards is more crucial than ever.
While the current HIPAA standard hasn’t been updated since 2013, there is talk that new regulations will emerge in 2021 regarding several post-COVID-19 topics such as:
For the HIPAA compliance process as it stands today, five main rules guide HIPAA requirements. They are:
The HIPAA Privacy
The HIPAA Security
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With more than 115 pages of HIPAA requirements to consider, assuring that you’re compliant with each applicable rule can be a challenge.
To help you get started we’ve compiled a checklist from this HIPAA compliance guide:
Assign a compliance officer to oversee HIPAA Privacy Rule implementation.
Review your third-party business associate agreements (BAAs) to make sure they require HIPAA-compliant handling of PHI.
Test your processes for honoring patient requests. If patients ask who has seen their health records and when, can you show them?
Check your procedures to assure that you can honor patients’ requests to hide their medical records from view or remove them from your database.
Provide HIPAA compliance training, to educate employees in the proper handling of PHI, including electronic health records.
Set and document your risk management and data security compliance program. Keep detailed records of PHI breaches, noting whom you notified and when, post-breach assessments and remediation efforts.
Undertake regular risk assessments of your organization regarding the privacy and security of PHI and ePHI. A HIPAA security risk assessment checklist can help assure that this assessment meets HIPAA protocols. Where necessary, mitigate the risks you find or adjust your policies.
Set texting, smartphone and email policies to restrict internal and provider-patient text messaging and emails to HIPAA-approved applications only.
Strengthen your controls around the PHI that you store. This might include mobile device and email encryption, firewalls, multi-factor authentication and workforce security training and testing.
Establish technical safeguards around e-PHI, including administrative safeguards like access control and authentication, encryption and decryption, continuous monitoring and auto log-off protocols.