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Originally Posted On: https://leviathyn.com/165812/5-tips-for-ensuring-hipaa-compliance-in-your-business/
If you work in the healthcare industry, then you probably know all about the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, or HIPAA.
In a nutshell, HIPAA requires companies to handle protected health information, known as PHI, with confidentiality, and it mandates the standards for managing health care information across the industry.
In other words, it ensures that nobody’s private health information becomes public. As such, no company wants to be the subject of HIPAA compliance issues.
Here are five ways to ensure your company is compliant.
1. USE MULTI-FACTOR AUTHENTICATION
We’ve all encountered the particular hassle of having to remember a username and a password for just about every site where you want to do business. Unfortunately, these two factors – no matter how strong your password – are no longer enough to protect all your data. You now need additional security factors.
For instance, being prompted to enter a one time password, a security token, or answering a security question are all extra measures that will ensure you’re the person you say you are and nobody else can access your medical chronologies.
2. BACK UP ALL PATIENT RECORDS
This really should go without saying and should certainly be on every business’s HIPAA compliant checklist.
Even so, some companies fail to take this step. And failure to establish and implement procedures to make and maintain exact copies of electronic PHI is one of the best ways to ensure you’re NOT HIPAA compliant.
3. KEEP ELECTRONIC PHI BACKUPS ENCRYPTED AND OFFSITE
Furthermore, those backups should be stored in a separate location from the original data store and encrypted to meet NIST encryption standards – as recommended under HIPAA.
This is especially important given the number of mobile devices used at a company, taken home, and connected to other networks. Plus, if someone steals these devices, the PHI easily becomes public.
4. TRAIN YOUR EMPLOYEES
To err is human. But in the healthcare industry, there isn’t much wiggle room to err.
Even if you have the most responsible employees in the world, if they don’t have the proper training to recognize phishing emails or malicious links, they could jeopardize your clients’ health information. It’s a HIPAA compliance nightmare.
Training your employees is an investment that pays off time and again.
5. CONSIDER ALL THIRD PARTY BUSINESS ASSOCIATES
Most healthcare businesses engage with other companies in order to provide the best care for patients and clients. These are known as business associates and are often involved in the creation, maintenance, or reception of PHI on behalf of the healthcare business.
But it’s important they are HIPAA compliant as well.
That’s why HIPAA requires businesses to enter into Business Associate Agreements with such companies. This includes everyone from vendors to the business’s backup provider.
HIPAA COMPLIANCE IS IMPORTANT
Failing to follow HIPAA compliance rules and guidelines could mean serious trouble for your healthcare business. It’s not a gamble you want to take.
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