If you thought data security is important, perhaps more important is HIPAA compliance if you happen to have business interests in healthcare and deal with patient information. Ask any IT professional who is experienced in the healthcare, pharma and life sciences industry, and s/he will tell you that the most important regulation involving data security is the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act that has now reached its twenty-first year. You just cannot afford to stay ignorant about it as it can ruin your business. Violation or non-compliance of the provisions of the law can result in hefty penalty or imprisonment, but the biggest damage happens to the trust and reputation of your business that comes to naught.

The features of Salesforce compliance will benefit you in implementing HIPAA without any problem. While the software has all capabilities of adapting your business process, you must take some management steps to ensure that policies and procedures are in place to drive the compliance campaign. In this article, we have discussed the steps you must take to ensure compliance.

Meeting the standards

Within the HIPAA there are two distinct standards – The HIPAA Privacy Rule and the HIPAA Security Rule. The former establishes national standards for protecting some particular health information while the latter sets the national benchmark for protecting some specific health information recorded electronically and transferred in the same manner. The latter became necessary to encourage organizations to make use of new technologies and techniques in data handling, including digital, pharmacy, electronic health records, computerized physician order entry system (CPOE) and laboratory systems.

Steps for maintaining standards

  • Maintain confidentiality and integrity of all information related to ePHI that the business has to handle and make the information available.
  • Identify potential threat to the integrity or security of the information and protect it.
  • Protect the disclosure of information to unauthorized users.
  • Ensure compliance by all employees of the organization.

Applicable safe guards

Arrange for administrative, physical and technical safeguards, which are the pillars for implementing HIPAA compliance.

  • Administrative safeguards relate to the workers of the company and the manner in which they handle the IT security. It includes security management process, workforce security, security personnel, information access and management, security awareness and training, contingency planning and evaluation.
  • Physical safeguards aimed at protecting the system and data and include facility access control, device and media controls and workstation use and security.
  • Technical safeguards revolve around the data exclusively and include access control, audit controls, person/entity authentication and transmission security.

Meet the requirements of risk analysis

You must conduct risk analyses for identifying the steps to comply with the HIPAA security rule and ensure proper protection of ePHI as it is a requirement of the Office of Civil Rights (OCR). You can do it by yourself or outsource the same to a third party company. Document the exercise correctly for it is a fundamental requirement for HIPAA audit.

HIPAA compliance is an ongoing activity and fusing it with the culture of the organization is the best way to succeed.

Author Bio:

Lucy Jones is a SaaS professional closely associated with the healthcare industry. Her association with Flosum.com dates back a few years when she was on the advisory board of the company. She is an ace shooter and collecting coins is her hobby.

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