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HIPAA Compliance and Other Important Federal Notices

Cybersecurity compliance is on the agenda of every web-based business around the world. The reason for this is the ever-growing pressure of the authorities on companies who need to store the personal data of their customers and patients. Nowadays, companies need to be compliant if they want to be successful and free of legal action.

But how can you know which regulation you should follow? Cybersecurity compliance is a diverse subject with several standards that change from industry to industry. Today, we will talk about HIPAA and see what needs to be done in order to be compliant with HIPAA standards.

What is HIPAA?

HIPAA (The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) is the leading regulation when it comes to the healthcare sector. This regulation entered into force in 1996 as a federal act. Most basically, it is a set of rules that governs how individuals’ medical records can be stored and used. Any company that needs to collect medical records from their customers should ideally be compliant with HIPAA.

One of the most important rules set by HIPAA is that any medical record cannot be disclosed unless the individual clearly expresses their consent. This protects customers and patients in terms of their personal data staying confidential between doctors and other healthcare professionals who access this data because of their profession. This rule is called the “Privacy Rule.”

The Privacy Rule establishes guidelines for people’s rights to know how their health information is used and to exercise that right. A key objective of the Privacy Rule is to guarantee that people’s health information is not disclosed, but it is also allowing them to get the best healthcare they can without personal data being compromised.

In terms of who is subject to this regulation are clear; who collects, stores, and uses protected health information (PHI). These entities are called “covered entities.” These entities can be hospitals, health insurance companies, and health care clearinghouses. In addition to these, any associate of covered entities is also required to abide by HIPAA rules.

What are HIPAA Rules?

Being HIPAA compliant does not only mean that you have the necessary security practices put in place on your private network where you store medical records. There are four main rules of HIPAA. Let’s take a look.

1-) HIPAA Privacy Rule

The Privacy Rule, as we mentioned above, governs the right of individuals on their medical records. This rule outlines the boundaries of usage and storage of medical records, which are based on the individual’s consent. In every organization that is HIPAA compliant, all employees have to be trained on this rule.

2-) HIPAA Breach Notification Rule

As everybody who is interested in cybersecurity knows, data breaches can happen no matter what. But there are some rules on HIPAA that specifies how an entity should act in case of a breach. This rule sets the regulation on how and when should an entity report a possible data breach on medical records.

3-) HIPAA Security Rule

Security rule regulates how entities should structure their data security architectures. It specifies the requirements and standards that need to be put in place to ensure medical records stay confidential and the risk of a breach is as minimized as possible. These standards are physical and also technical, meaning that entities should ensure security on both means.

4-) HIPAA Omnibus Rule

HIPAA Omnibus rule is the one that also applies to business associates of covered entities. This rule states that business associates of such entities should also be HIPAA compliant since they have or might have access to the medical record of individuals.

How to be compliant with HIPAA?

We now do know which rules an organization needs to follow in order to be compliant with HIPAA. But what things an organization needs to check to stay compliant with it? Here are some suggestions to make sure you are up to date with the HIPAA security rule checklist.

1-) Prepare your cybersecurity structure for HIPAA

HIPAA is a serious personal data security regulation, and you need a robust cybersecurity structure if you want to be compliant with it. You need an advanced way of protecting your private network from malicious users. This requirement is the first thing you need to check, make sure you have the means to protect data online.

2-) Train your staff on all of the rules

It’s not enough if you are compliant with HIPAA in terms of administration or data protection technologies. Employees of covered entities are also subject to these rules, so they need to be properly trained on them. Make sure to concentrate on how you explain and teach the rules of HIPAA to your employees.

3-) Monitor your network

After making sure your network is capable of defending itself from various cyber threats, you need to conduct regular check-ups on it. Not a single network would be secure if they were not adjusted properly to the changing threats. So it is also crucial to monitor everything and make changes and upgrades when needed.

Conclusion

HIPAA (The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) has been a pioneer personal data protection standard in healthcare since 1996, and you need to understand it from all aspects possible to avoid legal action and data breaches that can result in unauthorized disclosure of medical records.

HIPAA sets all the necessary rules and also states suggested practices, all you are left to do is follow these practices and make sure you are on board with HIPAA. Medical records are perhaps the most sensitive data of individuals, and HIPAA is here to protect them.

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