The Most Importhant Considerations for HIPAA Compliance in 2017

It is difficult not to talk about HIPAA compliance anytime there are discussions about IT within the healthcare profession. These conversations are particularly prevalent today when there is increased penalties and audits. This is the time when SMEs are busy reviewing their new year policies and therefore the best time to cover some fundamental HIPAA considerations that could save your business from legal trouble.

Compliance follows you even outside the office

If you take your tablet or device outside the office for a lunch meeting or decide to take some work at home, it is important to treat data as you would in the confines of the office. Trying to gain access through unsecured devices might lead to harsh punishment after the next audit.

Business partners with any part in storage, protection or transfer of data must by extension, adhere to this principle. A legal firm with access to your network, for example, must also be compliant with the rules. The best way of protecting yourself from mishandling of data by business partners is using Business Associate Agreements that must be reviewed at least annually.

Most “optional” measures are actually mandatory

The heading titled “Required and Addressable Implementation Specifications” on the HIPAA Security Rule page by the HHS, is quite confusing. This simply means that though some safeguards were listed as addressable, they have to be implemented. However, the method of doing so is really up to you.

In 2016, there was a massive surge in the number of audits and fines by the government entity-HHS. We always recommend going beyond expectations whenever safeguards or measures give room for subjective interpretation. Hiring an IT officer is much cheaper than the fines that surge to the millions of dollars.

It takes more than just being careful

Most providers are quick to suggest stringent safeguards to prevent even the smallest of breaches. Wonder how these practices will respond to the Ponemon survey that found that 90% oh health practices had a data breach in a couple of years.

It has become quite troublesome for organizations to manage cyber security and it is time business owners realized that the threats are real. Solutions must be thorough and most states in the country have even enacted their own variation of the patient privacy law. This means that any compliance walkthrough written by a person in another state will not suffice.

For a business to achieve full HIPAA compliance there is a need for IT techs who can easily adapt to changes to this rather complicated legal framework. If you want to become a

competitive player in the healthcare or other industry you need to take deliberate steps to save yourself from fines and imminent attacks. Start by contacting is today and we will help you secure and competently manage all electronic medical records and sensitive health information. Medical data must remain private to prevent lawsuits from dissatisfied clients and hefty fines from the government. Hiring an IT professional is the best you can do for the business and we are always available to help.