HIPAA compliance is a standard set by the government that explicitly deals with defending sensitive patient data. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) provide the framework within which this operation runs. A HIPAA compliant company or firm that deals with Protected Health Information (PHI) has to put in place the requisite network, physical and process security measures. In addition, it has to see to it that all employees adhere to all these measures. The HIPAA compliance is applicable to covered entities (CEs) and business associates (BAs). CEs provide direct healthcare services and run other health-related operations as well. BAs are firms that have access to sensitive patient information and provide supportive services that relate to health matters such as payments and treatment.
Under HIPAA compliance, there are the HIPAA privacy and security rules. The former addresses issues touching on the storage, access and sharing of an individual’s personal and medical information. The latter deals with national security standards that protect all health data subjected to electronic formatting i.e. reception, transmission and/or maintenance. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) vets all HIPAA compliant service providers. The service providers have to have certain technical, physical and administrative safeguards in place.
Physical safeguards include limited access and control to the facility. Authorized access has to be in place. Policies that govern the use and access of electronic media and workstations are also included.
Technical safeguards ensure that all electronic protected health data is safe. This is done through the installation of access control measures such as user IDs, emergency access procedures, encryption, decryption and automatic log-offs. The implementation of tracking logs or audit reports also falls under technical safeguards. This ensures that all activity records are in the system’s software and hardware parts.
Network security is also a critical aspect that is required of all HIPAA compliant hosts. It comes in handy in the protection of electronic protected health information (EPHI). It covers all data transmission methods such as private clouds, the internet and email.