Is Your Website or Mobile App HIPPA Compliant?
Technology has transformed our lives, enabling us to be more productive, innovative, and efficient. The internet and mobile devices have presented us with opportunities we never imagined, empowering us to be more engaged with the world around us and with one another. However, with great power comes great responsibility. The internet and mobile devices have brought with them new sets of regulations and requirements, some of which are not well understood by most individuals and businesses. One such regulation is the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). Here’s a brief overview of the main principles and requirements of HIPAA that every business or individuals accessing protected medical data using the internet, or a mobile device should be aware of.
In the ever-changing world of healthcare, one thing that has remained constant is the need for organizations to stay in compliance with privacy and security regulations known as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). While the term “compliance” is often associated with a negative connotation, it should actually be understood as the course of action to avoid heavy fines and potential repercussions.
Enacted in 1996, HIPAA was enacted to protect the privacy and safeguarding of personal health information (PHI) by regulating the use and dissemination of health information by medical professionals and health care organizations. One of the key provisions of HIPPA is the requirement that all covered entities (providers and health care organizations) maintain a privacy and security policy that is reviewed and updated on an annual basis. HIPPA compliance ensures that all entities that handle PHI are following the latest industry standards to protect the personal health information of their patients.
5 Ways to Be in Compliance With HIPAA
HIPAA compliance is required by all U.S. healthcare providers, business associates, and any individual or organization that deals with the PHI of patients. The two primary components of HIPAA are the Privacy Rule and the Security Rule. The Privacy Rule ensures that a patient’s health information is protected from being shared without his or her authorization. The Security Rule ensures that the data that is stored electronically is not accessed by unauthorized individuals and that when data is shared, it is done in an encrypted format. The Security Rule also requires all entities to have a contingency plan in case of a breach to ensure the safety of patient information. With this in mind, we’ve put together a list of five ways to make sure you’re in compliance with HIPAA and protecting the PHI of your patients.
1. Using SSL:
Data security is the primary goal of HIPAA. In order to make sure that patient information is protected and sent over the internet, use Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) encryption. SSL is a web technology that secures communications between your website/app and your visitors’ device. It uses cryptographic methods to ensure that all communications with your website are secure, hidden, and kept confidential. This will prevent a breach of data as long as the encryption is strong enough to withstand any hacks that may occur. And thanks to evolving technology, getting SSL set up on your website is easier than ever before.Every major hosting service, like AWS or Google Cloud, includes the option of having an SSL certificate included in your hosting plan. The whole process can be done in minutes with the click of a button. For a business with more specialized needs, you can get 3rd party SSL certificates through your hosting provider.
2. Encrypting Data:
HIPAA requires that all stored data be completely encrypted. According to the Security Rule, when patient data is stored electronically, it must be encrypted to protect it from loss, unauthorized access, and use. Encryption is a computer process that scrambles data, rendering it unreadable to anyone who attempts to access it without authorization. Sensitive information, such as financial or patient information, could be hacked and manipulated if it is not encrypted. It’s even possible that a hacker would then publish that information on the internet for all to see. That is why it is critical for healthcare providers to use strong encryption methods for all of their patient data. This will ensure that patient information is safe from any threats and that the patient has peace of mind.
3. Access Control:
One way to ensure data is not lost or accessed by unauthorized individuals is to implement an access control system. Access control restricts the type of information employees can access, the level of access each employee has, and the amount of time they can access it. For example, a healthcare provider may choose to implement a policy that only allows certain employees, like their directors and executives, to have access to sensitive patient information. They may also set a time limit that restricts how long a person can look at patient information before they are required to log off and give someone else access. This is critical in keeping PHI out of the hands of the wrong people, such as malicious individuals who want to manipulate or exploit it.
4. Encouraging Timely Data Deletion:
Another way to ensure data security is to implement an automatic data deletion policy. When data is no longer needed or is no longer required to be kept, it should be erased automatically. This prevents any PHI from being exposed in case a computer is stolen or hacked. Having an automatic deletion policy will protect the data in case of a breach and will make sure it is not being stored unnecessarily. HIPAA policy has documented rules concerning how long medical data (PHI) for a patient needs to be stored. Be sure that your business is following HIPAA guidelines when implementing your deletion policy.
5. Data Backups:
It is also important to ensure that you have secure backups of all your PHI. Backups are basically a copy of your data that can be accessed at any time. If your computer system fails or your data is accidentally erased, you can have your backups restored so you never lose data that is important to your business. It is critical that you keep these backups in a safe and secure location and that the backup devices are encrypted as well. To implement this properly, you should use 3rd party backup solutions like those from Mozy, Carbonite, and Amazon. Boasting superior features and security, these solutions ensure that your backups are safe from any breach or hack.
Get HIPAA Compliant App & Website with Gate6
HIPAA Compliance can be a tall order for small and mid-sized healthcare organizations. With Gate6, you don’t have to worry about the administrative and technical hassle associated with a compliance breach. Gate6 brings you the expertise and best practices that your organization needs to keep your patients’ medical records safe. While keeping your cost down. Our web and mobile application development services ensure that your customers are always at the center of our solutions. Our services give you a better return on investment as well as increased revenues with the flexibility to integrate your existing processes into the systems we develop for you. For HIPAA Compliant App & Website development services, talk to Gate6 today!