The HIPAA guidelines for healthcare professionals have been relatively stable for over a decade. Now, with changes to both requirements and enforcement proposed for 2023, adjusting your organizational cybersecurity may be necessary to avoid penalties.
HIPAA / Healthcare Industry
When comparing HIPAA compliance service providers, there are four key factors to target:
- Their approach to access control, which is critical for HIPAA Privacy Rule compliance
- Their capacity for risk assessment and management for the HIPAA Security Rule
- Their visibility and communications infrastructure for HIPAA Breach Notifications
- Their ability to help you meet all your regulatory compliance needs efficiently
The Healthcare Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, commonly referred to as HIPAA, was signed into law on August 21, 1996. From the outset HIPAA was begun as a modernization effort towards healthcare records. Up until the mid-1990s, the vast majority of healthcare records were kept in hard copy. There also were no federal laws regulating the sharing or protection of sensitive health data up until the adoption of HIPAA. HIPAA was conceived at a time when enormous external forces were acting upon all industries including the health sector. The increasing data-driven world was outpacing the rate of change in the healthcare industry, and legislators and healthcare professionals recognized that patient data needed to be protected, while also remaining accessible to the patient themselves. At the same time, regulators and healthcare professionals recognized that moving forward health records were going to need to be digitized and stored electronically.
If your organization operates in or adjacent to healthcare, there’s a good chance that HIPAA applies to you. And if it does, it’s in your best interest to ensure your compliance ASAP.
The Security Rule ensures the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of protected health information (PHI). And HIPAA security risk assessments are one crucial part of Security Rule compliance, along with other administrative, technical, and physical safeguards.
HIPAA violations can incur monetary fines and other penalties that scale with the severity of an offense. In worst-case scenarios, HIPAA violations could even lead to jail time.
With the passing of the Omnibus Rule, HIPAA came into its present form. Protections from the Privacy and Security Rules are now more stringent. And failure to meet any of the HIPAA rules is now met with greater fines, even when the organization doesn’t realize it broke a rule.
These are trying times for the healthcare industry. Resources across various facilities are being exhausted due to the COVID-19 pandemic and previously unforeseen levels of traffic. But that’s not all: cyberattacks on the healthcare sector rose 150 percent in just the early stages of the pandemic, according to one report. The need for cyberdefense is clear. Now, more than ever before, penalties for HIPAA violations pale in comparison to other threats compliance can assuage.
Organizations both within and adjacent to healthcare need to comply with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA). One major component of HIPAA compliance is preventing breaches. However, if one appears to have happened, a breach determination and risk assessment will determine whether you need to follow Breach Notification requirements.
Companies within the medical industry need to be aware of all rules and regulations that govern both the care side and the business side. That goes not just for healthcare providers themselves, but also many companies working with them.