Importance of HIPAA in Protecting Your Business

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, which was passed into law in 1996, brought about a number of modifications to the way that healthcare is delivered.

The federal law offered patients more access rights to their health records and established minimum criteria for safeguarding patient health records.

The law also increased confusion in a competitive market. 26 years after it was passed into law, healthcare providers and their business partners still require assistance in determining whether and how the law pertains to their operations. It is crucial to comprehend how HIPAA and its HIPAA security law will secure your company.

The Importance of HIPAA – It’s the Law

The Department of Health and Human Services, specifically the Office for Civil Rights, is responsible for enforcing HIPAA. Controlling the confidentiality and privacy of patients’ protected health information is the law’s main goal.

OCR has received more than 314,000 complaints since April 2003. At least 44,000 investigations were performed by the agency (14 percent of all complaints), and 68 percent of those investigations led to some sort of corrective action.

Providing direction to a provider is often enough to address a HIPAA breach. More serious incidents may result in HIPAA fines and years of further OCR auditing control.

If there is collaboration, HIPAA auditors are known to strive to assist providers and business partners in less severe ways. Cooperation failure has serious repercussions.

Two healthcare organisations were each fined $100,000 this year for violating patients’ access rights. In both instances, the providers disregarded HIPAA information requests or offered minimal cooperation.

Some of the information that cybercriminals are most interested in is found in patients’ PHI. The improper people could use such information to open credit lines in patients’ names. This harms the reputation of persons who have experienced identity theft, and it may require hours of time spent attempting to establish the truth as well as a loss of credit standing.

HIPAA neither mandates nor explains how to protect patient PHI. The HIPAA Privacy Rule and the HIPAA Security Rule instead set minimum requirements.

The HIPAA Privacy Rule is focused on limiting access to PHI so that only those who require it can access it. This Rule covers practical precautions like access control mechanisms where physical or electronic information are held, as well as administrative safeguards like policies and procedures.

The HIPAA Security Rule is concerned with the methods used to protect data, including encryption, firewalls, virus and malware filtering, and multi-factor authentication. These rules, along with the HIPAA Breach Notification Rule, serve as the cornerstones for safeguarding patients’ private health information.