HIPAA stands for Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996. It is United States legislation which acts on implementing data privacy and security measures to safeguard medical information. This act is especially important due to the increase in health data breaches from cyber attacks. The fundamental goal of HIPAA is to make it easier to maintain health insurance, and ensure confidentiality and security of healthcare information.
In case of HIPAA Compliance, the Office for Civil Rights- OCR from the Department of Health and Human Services- HHS is the governing body. HIPAA exists for individuals and professionals. You require HIPAA compliance if you belong to the category of business associates or covered entity and deal with Protected Health Information – PHI. Covered entities include health care clearinghouses such as billing services, health plans such as Medicare or company health plans, and health care providers such as surgeons.
HIPAA allows you to set rules on who can view and access your health data. This applies to all forms of an individual’s protected health information including written, oral, and electronic. It is extremely critical to manage your health information in a secure way while being handled by covered entities and business associates. Business associates include medical equipment companies and medical transcription services.
HIPAA ensures no misuse of your private health information by any third party and protects individuals’ health data from cyber-attacks. With HIPAA, an individual can access and restrict sharing of such private information, and receive notifications when their information is being shared. Individuals can see their medical records as well as apply corrections to these records.
Implementing HIPAA from a compliance perspective requires several details to be addressed in an effective and methodical manner. TechForing has the required expertise to help you acquire HIPAA compliance and follow essential HIPAA mandates.
We help you with HIPAA compliance in a step by step manner as described below:
HIPAA Entity Identification – We help you identify your classification under HIPAA, in terms of a covered entity or business associate. Covered entities include:
- Health care providers
- Health plans such as health insurance companies
- Healthcare clearinghouses
Business associates do business with covered entities or deal with protected health information. We help in identifying and classifying based on HIPAA definitions.
PHI – PHI stands for Protected Health Information, which can include anything in the patient health record. As part of HIPAA, it is important to identify PHI and maintain privacy regarding this data. We help you maintain the security and privacy of PHI.
Identify HIPAA Rules – Identifying the rules to be implemented plays a key role in HIPAA compliance. The rules are broadly classified as:
- Security rules which deals with confidentiality, integrity, and availability of health information
- Privacy rules which deal with prevention of unauthorized disclosure of health data
- Breach notifications which ensure the appropriate notification mechanisms are in place in case of a data breach
Maintain Privacy – In all circumstances, unless the patient has approved of allowing disclosure of their information, the data privacy needs to be maintained. The data can be shared only in case of:
- Shared with any individual that has been authorized by the patient
- For treatment, payment, or general health care operations
In every other case, data privacy needs to be maintained and we help you with this.
NPP – NPP stands for Notice of Privacy Practices. All practices need to provide patients with a Notice of Privacy Practices. Our team works with your organization to implement the NPP. The NPP must inform patients of the uses and disclosures of PHI that may take place, and also define the patient’s right to access and amend their medical information.
Required Access Controls – Access controls manage centrally controlled and easily accessible user record entries with usernames and passwords. This also includes a well-defined procedure to be incorporated to disclose information in case of emergency.
Administrative Safeguard – We help you place safe authentication mechanisms and monitor for situations of unauthorized access to data or alteration of information. Administrative Safeguards require practices to create and maintain updated policies and procedures. This also includes employees learning to follow procedures on how to safeguard the security of PHI. We train employees on their access rights and responsibilities with handling PHI. Key items covered here include:
- Acceptable use of policies
- Sanction policies to discipline employees who violate HIPAA law
- Information access policies to grant appropriate access to health records
- Security awareness training
- Contingency planning, which includes adequate preparation, policies, and procedures in order to respond to emergencies
Technical Safeguards – This includes practices and procedure along with the correct software and equipment to protect PHI. We help you incorporate these changes and allow PHI access only to those who are authorized. Other areas included are:
- Ensuring encryption and decryption of information is completed before transmitting any patient’s information.
- Policies and procedure set up to destroy PHI when it’s no longer necessary to perform a job
Physical Safeguard – One of the core components of HIPAA compliance is traceable audit logs. This helps to safeguard private information and register all transactional details. We help you identify the most secure way to handle and access PHI, and maintain isolation levels, while handling health-related sensitive data by an authorized user. All access must be monitored. Our team works towards achieving this for your organization.
Key Roles – HIPAA requires that every practice designates a HIPAA security and HIPAA privacy officer. These are individuals who lead the implementation and training of HIPAA requirements for your practice. We support training within the organization.
We incorporate these guidelines and provide immediate remediation based on HIPAA standards.
Our HIPAA consultations and guidance is affordable and we will cater to all of your queries efficiently. Due to our affordability, we have attracted several clients who are interested in knowing more about HIPAA and acquiring HIPAA compliance.
The cost varies from small to large organizations. The rough estimate for HIPAA end to end compliance is –
- HIPAA classification and identify PHI – $400 – $5,000
- Administrative Safeguard control implementation – $800 – $12,000
- Technical Safeguard control implementation – $600 – $12,000
- Physical Safeguard control implementation – $500 – $13,000
- Training along with policy development – $300 – $25,000
- On-site visit – $200 – $30,000
Based on client feedback, TechForing may work with you to add or remove certain components from the compliance evaluation steps. These are purely based on market and HIPAA requirements.
We also help you with the timely renewal of HIPAA compliance.
HIPAA compliance by itself is a vast subject and it is a complex procedure to identify if you need to be HIPAA compliant or not. Identifying and becoming HIPAA compliant is crucial to the continuity of your business. HIPAA is mandatory as per the US Department of Health and Human Services – HSS. HSS governs all healthcare related activities by ensuring healthcare organizations implement secure electronic access to all health-relevant data. This also includes remaining compliant with the privacy regulations established by HSS.
Falling victim to a healthcare data breach can have long-term repercussions and also attract heavy fines. These fines can vary from unknowingly violating HIPAA to willful negligence of HIPAA. HIPAA violations fines vary between $100 and $50,000 per violation, depending on the severity of the offense.
TechForing helps you identify and define a roadmap to become HIPAA compliant. We have experts in the field to support you throughout the journey, and also help you make the required amendments in terms of identifying the risk factors. Our support extends to identifying, acquiring, and renewal of HIPAA for individuals and businesses. We strive to ensure a hassle-free process is in place, while helping you become HIPAA compliant.
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