The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act or HIPAA is a challenging Act for thousands of companies in the United States. It sets the standard for sensitive patient data protection in the country. If your organization deals with sensitive healthcare data, ensuring HIPAA compliance is vital.
In December 2020, the HHS had found organizations non-compliant with HIPAA in 69% of its investigations. So, even though compliance with the Act is time-consuming, it is also vital. But there are several HIPAA compliance challenges that you need to win in doing so.
Data collection and protection is a crucial matter. HIPAA focuses on the security of patient’s data. So, it would help if you did not leave anything unnoticed to avoid a hefty fine and a hit to your reputation. Following that, we have a list of top challenges in HIPAA compliance that you need to overcome.
Hackers are always ready to hack your data. So, it becomes all the more important to ensure cybersecurity. Breaching of cybersecurity can be fatal, considering the havoc it can create on your reputation. There are a few HIPAA compliance areas relating to cybersecurity.
The Privacy Rule instructs both covered entities and their business associates (BAA) to limit PHI’s access and exposure to only those who need it as part of their jobs. The safest way to prevent such breaches and create a secure connection is using HIPAA compliant clouds. Thus, you can ensure data safety.
But one must also learn that HIPAA states that data be stored and remains available when it is needed for a while. The time of such preservation differs in states. It also mandates that it be “permanently” destroyed or deleted when its storage is no longer necessary.
It means that you delete the data and not put it in the recycle bin of your computer. Doing that would be considered a HIPAA violation. Keeping the data in recycle bin or trash also increases the chances of data-stealing.
2.Technical Challenges In HIPAA Compliance
Technical challenges are one of the most crucial ones in HIPAA compliance. So, having total control over it is necessary to keep your data protected. But what are the technical perils, and how do they threaten your status?
There are several factors to take care of, such as access control, audit control, etc. To leak data, one has to access it. So, you should ensure total control of the authorization. It also depends on what sort of systems you use and where you store your data. So, ensure that only the authorized personnel have access to e-PHI.
It would be best if you also controlled how your data is being used. With audit control, you can see who else is accessing your data and making changes to it. So, authorization plays a vital part in HIPAA compliance. Giving control to a trusted person, therefore, should be one of your priorities.
Along with who can control or access the e-PHI, you must also have an eye on the device that can access it. Being the administrator, one must always ensure the safety of the devices with access to the PHIs. There are two ways of doing that. Many companies provide their staff with well-encrypted systems.
Providing them with your system ensures the protection level. If you allow your employees to bring their phone or laptop, make sure those are well encrypted. To do that, you would need proper employee training. Negligence in this area often leads to data breaches. To avoid such HIPAA compliance issues, make sure your employees have adequate training.
4.Risk Analysis Challenges
One of the significant HIPAA compliance challenges is that of risk assessment. This assessment identifies the possible vulnerabilities that may exist in your security measures. The OCR and the ONC offer a downloadable Security Risk Assessment (SRA) tool for HIPAA. You can use this tool to checklist the standards and manage your risk assessment plan.
These challenges may seem a lot, but they are crucial if you want to run your organization without paying hefty fines. Being HIPAA compliant is simple if you can overcome these challenges. This guide will help you to safeguard your organization from the clutches of the law.
This post was first shared on HealthTech Zone, Top Challenges to HIPAA Compliance, on February 17, 2021.