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Data Security Key to Staying HIPAA Compliant

Data Security Key to Staying HIPAA Compliant

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act is a regulation passed by the US congress in 1996 to help streamline the healthcare system while maintaining individual ePI privacy over individuals’ health records. This regulation was put in place to allow people to transfer their health coverage, but also to minimize the risk individuals take on as far as fraud and abuse of their health records is concerned. This week we’d thought we’d discuss four ways your technology can help your organization keep its HIPAA compliance. 

Every organization that deals with healthcare information, whether they work in healthcare or just hold information on individual health insurance policies, needs to remain compliant with HIPAA. This can be a challenge for some companies, and that’s not a good thing. Fines can be massive for organizations that are found to be in breach of this mandate. That’s why it is essential your organization knows what to do and how to successfully deal with would-be patient data breach. 

The Role Technology Plays

Obviously, business success is largely contingent on their technology, and as far as HIPAA compliance is concerned, it’s mostly about keeping this type of data confidential. This becomes more of a challenge as organizations outsource their benefits and insurance to third parties. This is because this data, sent digitally, can be intercepted and therefore can cause major headaches for administrators. 

Let’s look at some easy-to-follow ways your organization can use its technology to maintain its critical HIPAA compliance:

  • Secure communications - When sharing individual health information, you want to ensure you are doing it securely. This means no individual ePHI should ever be sent via text or instant message. These platforms simply don’t have the needed security and you can get yourself in hot water pretty simply by not considering what information you are sharing over certain platforms. 
  • Use the cloud to your benefit - A lot of times people deride cloud platforms for not being as secure, but in the case of ePHI, cloud computing is generally thought of as one of the best platforms. This is because each user has secure access to the information without having to send it anywhere. This way there are no paper files to misplace (or get stolen) and there is very little risk of having the information intercepted in transit. 
  • Keep passwords secure and updated - Passwords play a crucial role in the security of your business files, and play the same role for ePHI. You should implore your staff to routinely change their passwords, while creating complex passwords that use upper and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols.
  • Keep training - One way that businesses of all sizes can work towards data security is to keep training. Along with password hygiene, businesses should train on the best practices of data security, data privacy, and overall awareness. Keeping your staff trained up and aware is truly the only way that it is going to maintain the security needed to stay compliant with HIPAA or any other regulatory mandate your business operates under. 

Health information is some of the most sought-after by hackers and scammers. If you would like to learn more about implementing a comprehensive training platform for your business, or you would like to talk to one of our knowledgeable IT consultants about keeping your business compliant, give us a call today at (604) 513-9428.

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