HIPPA compliance is a must for any business that secures health information transfer. This can become challenging for companies with a client base across multiple locations and jurisdictions.
However, these businesses must achieve HIPPA compliance and ensure their clients fully know their efforts.
What Is HIPPA Compliance?
HIPPA compliance refers to a set of rules governing how healthcare providers, insurance companies, and other entities handle individuals’ personal health information.
HIPPA stands for “Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act.” President Bill Clinton signed the bill into law in 1996. This act protects patient information privacy by ensuring that it isn’t shared without their permission.
This means that if you are a health care provider or an insurance company, you can only share patient information with others if necessary for them to provide care or pay for services rendered.
HIPAA Privacy Rule
The HIPPA privacy rule regulates how organizations interact with patients and their healthcare information. The purpose of the privacy rule aims to protect patient information from being shared without their consent.
The law applies to any individual or organization that handles health care data. This includes doctors, nurses, hospitals and clinics, health insurance companies, and medical malpractice lawyers.
It does this by requiring healthcare organizations to:
- Get an individual’s written permission before they can share their health information.
- Make sure that patients know who gets what information.
- Make sure patients have access to their medical records at any time.
HIPAA Security Rule
HIPPA compliance security rules establish national standards for protecting electronic protected health information (ePHI). This rule applies to most healthcare providers (such as hospitals, pharmacies, and physician practices), health plans (including insurance companies), and healthcare clearinghouses.
The HIPPA Security Rule applies to all electronically protected health information, including email messages containing ePHI, whether sent or received by a covered entity or by a business associate on its behalf.
Electronic Transaction & Code Sets Standards
The electronic transaction and code set standards for HIPPA compliance consist of rules that standardize the electronic exchange of patient-identifiable, health-related information.
Healthcare organizations that use these standards must meet specific criteria for electronically exchanging health information. These formats refer to the handling and standardizing of billing claims or online prescription refills.
The intent aims to ensure that all organizations involved in the health information exchange can use the same standards and formats for their messages. This ensures they can easily incorporate data into existing systems, saving time and money.
National Identifier Requirements
National identifiers concern unique numbers the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services assigns to individuals for use in their medical records. The purpose of identifiable health numbers aids in exchanging electronic health information between providers and suppliers and facilitates the administration of public health programs.
The Healthcare Information Portability and Accountability Act requires that all HIPAA-covered entities use national identifiers when exchanging electronic health information with other covered entities. This includes using them on paper and electronic documents containing patient information.
Enforcement & Penalties
Covered entities that fail to adhere to HIPPA compliance rules and regulations can face various consequences, including civil penalties, criminal prosecution, and even the loss of their ability to do business with the federal government.
Enforcement actions include:
- Criminal prosecution by the Department of Justice (DOJ) or the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)
- Civil penalties of up to $50,000 per violation
- Criminal penalties may include imprisonment for up to 1 year and/or fines of up to $250,000 per violation
In addition to civil penalties, covered entities that violate HIPPA may also be subject to disciplinary action by state licensing boards or professional societies if the entity holds licenses or is otherwise under regulation by such an entity.
HIPPA Compliance Checklist: How to Become HIPAA Compliant
HIPAA compliance is a must for any business that deals with the medical industry, but it can be daunting if you don’t understand the process. So, what is a key to success for HIPPA compliance?
How to Become HIPPA Compliant: HIPPA Compliance Forms and HIPPA Compliance Software
Your business must have HIPAA-compliant forms. These generally refer to user-completed digital documents that help you keep your patient’s privacy. These forms are necessary because HIPPA provides individuals with the right to access and amend their medical records. This means that if you have a patient who wants to see their medical records, they can request them from you at any time.
HIPPA compliance software is also a requirement. The main goal of HIPPA compliance software lies in making it easier for small businesses to keep track of their patient data. This software has features like automated reminders for updating patient information or filing reports on any confidentiality breaches.
Three Security Tips for HIPAA Compliance
1. Strong Login Measures
HIPAA compliance requires that you have strong login measures in place to protect your patient information. Each person who logs in should have a unique password and change it often. If someone leaves the company, you should remove their access immediately.
2. Regular Activity Logging
One of the most important things you can do for HIPAA compliance is to regularly log your activity.
This means keeping track of who you share information with, what kind of information you share, and when and how. You’ll want to keep a record of any breaches that occur and what steps you took to resolve them.
3. Take a Multi-Layer Approach
There’s more to HIPAA compliance than just “be careful.” You need to take a multi-layer approach to protect your company’s patient data. Consider these security tips to help you stay on the right side of the law:
- Encrypt your data
- Use multi-factor authentication
- Ensure all paper, digital, and HIPPA fax compliance measures are in place
- Implement a breach response plan
HIPPA Compliance Certification: Speak With a HIPAA Compliance Advisor Today
Whether you’re a healthcare provider, insurance company, or other entity that deals with the health and well-being of others, HIPPAA compliance can be a challenge.
As a HIPPA compliance firm, Succurri helps clients ensure their business practices stay updated with the latest regulations. Contact us today for more information about our services!