February 7, 2017
In the United States, data privacy legislation tends to be enacted largely due to the needs of a particular industry or sector of the population. Knowing and understanding how this compliance method is applied has become one of the key components of software outsourcing for medical organizations. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) is the first thing that should be kept in mind when talking about data privacy in the healthcare industry.
Compliance Moves to the Front Seat
To discover what HIPAA requires from an information security perspective, you must become familiar with 45 CRF Part 160 legislation, as well as Subparts A and C of Part 164. Of the greatest significance for outsourcers is the section dedicated to “technical safeguards and audit controls” which define the required activities that must be tracked and audited relevant to Patient Healthcare Information. Documentation and implementation of these controls, along with tools selection and review/capture of the appropriate information, is of utmost importance.
Sounds complicated? Not for us!
Review the following tried and tested checklist by our experts that includes these detailed guidelines:
- Ensure confidentiality, integrity and availability of all electronic protected health information (ePHI), including the protection of patient privacy through the encryption of medical records.
- Protect against reasonably anticipated threat or hazard to ePHI which an entity creates, receives, maintains or transmits.
- Deliver visibility, control and detailed auditing information of any data transfer.
- Protect against reasonably anticipated use or disclosure of ePHI, including loss prevention of confidential medical records via removable devices.
- Confirm that the organization’s entire workforce complies with HIPAA standards to ensure that the threat of data being stolen for financial gain will be minimized.
- Review security measures as often as needed to ensure reasonable and appropriate protection of ePHI.
Your IT department should be aware of the adequate steps needed to prevent unauthorized and unlawful access to the medical records. We propose to look closely to the following steps:
- Employee education. Employees should be properly trained on HIPAA compliance, its impact and how to handle personal information. Also, all employees are required to sign a confidentiality agreement, as well as undergo criminal background checks and drug testing. Businesses that deal with healthcare-related projects should have dedicated personnel specially allocated to enforce HIPAA compliance standards.
- Network traffic monitoring. Security tools with advanced traffic pattern analysis and intrusion detection is a must-have.
- Effective encryption practice. Encrypt laptops and implement strong passwords for devices that store protected health information (PHI). Mobile devices which store PHI should be given the strongest levels of protection.
- Data backup. If some or all of a system’s files are encrypted, restoring those files from a backup is the only recovery option.
- Security system upgrades. To remain compliant with HIPAA regulations, all systems that may contain PHI are required to remain current with all patches and up to date.
- Access restrictions. Implement a strong restricted-access plan to determine which users need access to PHI and give privileges to only those employees who need it.
- No long-term data storing where not required. Reduce the possibility that employees who leave the company can steal important data and take it with them to a different employer.
- Third-party vendor. Audit systems frequently and employ third-party vendors to attempt system penetration and perform security drills.
CoreValue – your Best IT Outsourcing Partner for Medical Solutions
With 10 years in the software market, CoreValue has broad experience in building healthcare global systems that are subject to the enormous number of compliance frameworks required by the FDA, HIPAA, and Good Clinical Practices, among many others.
Contact CoreValue for a consultation. Let us help you build a stable and secure healthcare data solution.