Is your organization a covered entity, as per the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA)? If yes, implementing the HIPAA Security Rule and Standards will help your organization to comply with HIPAA. In this guide, you are going to discover how to implement the HIPAA Security Rule and Standards successfully.
- Why is Security rule compliance Important?
- Am I an ePHI Covered Entity?
- Information Protected by the HIPAA Data Security Rule
- General HIPAA Privacy Rule Policies and Procedures
- Administrative Safeguards
- Physical Safeguards
- Technical Safeguards
Why is Security rule compliance Important?
Overall, security rule compliance ensures that as a covered entity, you have successfully operationalized all the protections provided in the HIPAA Privacy Rule Policies and Procedures.
To implement the HIPAA Security Rule successfully, you must comprehensively address HIPAA’s administrative, technical, and physical safeguards. This is important because as an ePHI covered entity, you must have those safeguards in place.
Am I an ePHI Covered Entity?
Any person who handles personal health information in electronic form is a covered entity. Furthermore, that person’s business partners and associates have also covered entities. In that regard, being compliant with HIPAA means making sure you and your associates comply with all HIPAA requirements.
Information Protected by the HIPAA Data Security Rule
Any health information that you can use to identify patients, which you have stored, received, or plan to send, in electronic form is protected by the HIPAA Data Security Rule.
If you do not have that information in electronic form, and instead you have it all stored as written text, then you are exempted. However, that is unlikely to be the case, since most businesses and health care providers now use IT systems, to streamline their business processes.
General HIPAA Privacy Rule Policies and Procedures
Your first step as a covered entity is to come up with policies and safeguards that you will use to protect ePHI. Because the ePHI is vulnerable any time someone interacts with it, the measures you take must consider the administrative, technical, and physical aspects of your business or organization.
In that regard, you can use these three principles to guide your decisions, as you implement your HIPAA Privacy and Security Rules and policies.
You must make sure that only those you intended to give access to the ePHI, get it. That means coming up with measures that help you to restrict access and enforce that restriction.
The HIPAA protected information should be easily available to those that need it, and only when they need it. For instance, staff should not carry such information home, or travel with it, if there are no justifiable reasons for doing so.
No unauthorized person should access ePHI, even if they need it. There should also be a clear trail of how authorized persons accessed and shared ePHI.
Scaling HIPAA Implementation
The HIPAA Security Rule is flexible enough, which allows covered entities to come with policies and safeguards that fit their scale of operations. That is important because a multinational pharmaceutical organization, and a physician with a private practice, will take different paths when implementing HIPAA compliance Rules and Regulations.
When complying with the HIPAA Privacy Rule and Security Rule, you need to think critically of the various aspects of the staff behavior and infrastructure, which your organization uses to access ePHI. That means analyzing your staff’s work routines, your IT infrastructure, and your business dealings.
To make it easy for you to analyze and plan to secure ePHI, HIPAA Security Rule guidelines look at securing ePHI from three aspects. That is from an administrative, technical, and physical standpoint.
This is important because hackers, for instance, may try to get access to ePHI data by falsifying their identity to get access, remotely hacking the ePHI systems, or stealing the physical electronic devices containing ePHI.
The administrative aspects of HIPAA the Security Rule include doing a HIPAA Security Rule Risk assessment. This includes doing an administrative ePHI risk assessment and assigning a senior staff the responsibility of finding ways to mitigate those risks.
It also involves deciding who should have access to ePHI, and when they should have it, and how they should get it. Furthermore, both those with access to ePHI, and those without, must be trained on the importance of safeguarding ePHI, and the penalties for failing to do so.
Finally, the HIPAA data Security Rule requires that you do a regular evaluation to find out if you are being successful in your HIPAA Security Rule Compliance.
Physical Safeguards mean you come up with policies and procedures that govern how to access ePHI physical devices. Such devices include servers, laptops, desktops, printers, and other electronic media containing ePHI. The policies should also govern how you dispose of or recycle such devices, or even transport them.
The Technical Safeguards include making sure you implement HIPAA Security Rule Encryption, to give the ePHI data additional protection. For instance, when transmitting ePHI data, encryption can help to protect it, in case it is intercepted.
Other technical safeguards include having methods to record how entities access ePHI under your control, transfer, and destroy it. That helps to create accountability and helps you find vulnerabilities, as well as assess how you can improve your compliance with HIPAA Security Rule Standards.
Conclusion – HIPAA Compliance Rules and Regulations
Hopefully, now you know what is expected of you as a covered entity, how to start complying with the HIPAA Act. We hope you found this guide to be informative, and you will take the required steps to make sure you are HIPAA compliant.
Overall, the scope of the HIPAA Security Rule Standards is much wider, and beyond the scope of this short guide.