Is Your Colorado Springs Healthcare Organization HIPAA Compliant?
Are you a healthcare organization executive or an IT decision-maker in the healthcare industry? If so, are you aware of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA)? This article shares all you need to know about this important regulatory standard in your industry.
As each year passes, the record for total annual HIPAA fines is broken. It goes without saying that you don’t want to be on the receiving end of a HIPAA complaint or fine. But how do you stay compliant with all the requirements of this standard? Before you can even think of being HIPAA compliant, there are a few things you need to know first.
These days, whatever industry your business is operating in, chances are, you need to comply with some set of rules and regulations. As a trusted managed IT services provider, we strive to help businesses stay on these regulatory standards’ safe side. That’s why our team wrote this article. After carefully studying all HIPAA compliance requirements, we share everything you need to know to safeguard your HIPAA protected data.
Watch our YouTube video on HIPAA Compliance to get started:
What Is HIPAA Compliance?
Broadly speaking, for your healthcare organization to be HIPAA compliant, it means you fully satisfy all the laws that dictate the use and storage of patient information. To be more specific, HIPAA compliance refers to all the procedures that business associates and covered entities follow to safeguard Protected Health Information (PHI).
We realize that this definition contains somewhat complex legal jargon. So, let’s dive into what each term means.
What Is Protected Health Information (PHI)? Protected Health Information (PHI) refers to anyone’s healthcare data. The whole point of HIPAA is to keep such information private. The Safe Harbor Rule defines the types of data you need to remove to declassify PHI.
What Is a Covered Entity? Doctors. Nurses. Health insurance companies. Practically anyone in the healthcare field who can access or uses protected health information is a covered entity.
Who Is a Business Associate? Business associates are professionals that work with covered entities in a non-healthcare capacity. However, they are also required to uphold HIPAA compliance, just like covered entities. Business associates include administrators, lawyers, IT professionals, and lawyers working in the healthcare industry or that can access PHI.
What Are the HIPAA Rules?
As you might have guessed, there are quite a few rules you need to observe when it comes to HIPAA compliance. Here are the essential ones:
- HIPAA Privacy Rule: This rule defines how and when anyone with access to PHI can use such data. Together with the HIPAA security rule, they are the two main HIPAA regulations. According to this rule, PHI is any patient’s past, current, or future health conditions and the treatment or payment details that could be used to identify the patient.
- HIPAA Omnibus Rule: This is arguably the most important rule as it outlines updates to a few of the definitions we’ve already covered. For starters, storage companies, consultants, and subcontractors are now considered business associates. Naturally, this means HIPAA now applies to many more organizations.
- HIPAA Security Rule: This regulation defines the basic requirements (administrative, physical, and technical safeguards) covered entities that need to meet to manage electronic PHI.
- HIPAA Enforcement Rule: It describes the steps that organizations have to follow in the event of a HIPAA violation.
- HIPAA Breach Notification Rule: This rule obligates covered entities to inform individuals whenever their PHI has been illegally accessed.
How Can You Become HIPAA Compliant? To ensure your organization is HIPAA compliant, you need to implement an effective compliance program by taking the following measures:
- Implement and enforce written processes, standards, and policies regarding conduct
- Define a compliance committee or officer
- Conduct compliance training
- Cultivate efficient communication lines
- Carry out internal auditing and monitoring
- Respond quickly to offenses and take timely remedial actions.
Looking for Reliable IT Support With HIPAA Compliance?
Colorado Computer Support helps organizations in Colorado Springs achieve HIPAA compliance through our top-tier IT solutions.
Contact us now to schedule your initial consultation.