HIPAA Compliance Checklist for 2021

What is HIPAA Compliance?

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) establishes the criteria for the security of confidential patient information. Businesses that handle protected health information (PHI) should have real-world, digital, and procedural protection measures and adhere to the standards to guarantee HIPAA compliance. HIPAA compliance is required for insurance companies or anyone who offers treatment, compensation, or administration in healthcare.  

And company associates that have access to patient information and offer support in hospitalization, payment, or operational processes. Other businesses, including subcontractors as well as other connected business connections, should be in conformance as well. Compliance with HIPAA security risk assessment checklist entails meeting the standards of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, its later revisions, as well as any other associated laws, including HITECH.

The HIPAA Privacy Rule, or Standards for Privacy of Individually Identifiable Health Information, established federal guidelines regarding the safeguarding of sensitive patient data, according to the United States Department of Health & Human Services (HHS). Furthermore, the Security Rule provides a nationwide list of security requirements for securing sensitive health information kept or transferred electronically.

The Security Rule puts the Privacy Rule’s precautions into action by handling the technical and management precautions authorized businesses must use to secure persons’ electronic PHI (e-PHI). In addition, the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) under HHS implements the Privacy and Security Rules through cooperative conformity efforts and financial penalties.

Need for HIPAA Compliance

HHS emphasizes that HIPAA compliance is extra essential now than before as the health care providers as well as other organizations dealing with PHI transition to automated operations, such as computerized physician order entry (CPOE) systems, radiology, electronic health records (EHR), pharmacy, and laboratory systems. Similarly, healthcare plans offer members accessibility to claims, patient care, including self-service tools. 

While some of the digital means improve efficiency and accessibility, they also significantly raise the security concerns related to healthcare information. The Security Rule was established to secure people’s health records whilst still enabling insured businesses to embrace innovative technology to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of patient treatment. 

By definition, the Security Rule is adaptable enough to enable a protected entity to establish policies, processes, and solutions that are appropriate for the entity’s scale, management structure, and threats to patients’ and customers’ e-PHI.

What is required for HIPAA Compliance?

Despite the purposely comprehensive HIPAA security risk assessment checklist, each Covered Entity and Business Associate having accessibility to PHI should verify that technological, organizational. Administrative protections are in existence and being followed, ensuring organizations follow the HIPAA Privacy Rule in accordance with sustaining the confidentiality of PHI. Additionally, organizations comply with the protocol under the HIPAA Breach Notification Rule when a violation of PHI occurs.

All risk management activities, HIPAA security risk assessment checklist, and grounds why responsive measures were never properly adopted should be documented in the event of a PHI breach. An inquiry is conducted to determine how the problem occurred. Therefore, let us see all the necessary HIPAA requirements that an organization needs to comply with. 

The HIPAA Privacy Rule

The HIPAA Privacy Rule governs the use and sharing of protected health information (PHI) by authorized companies and associated partners. PHI, when considered generally, might encompass whatever data about a patient’s medical status, healthcare service, or expenditure for healthcare.

The Privacy Rule requires that adequate measures be established in place to ensure the confidentiality of Personal Health Information. It also places restrictions and requirements on utilizing and disseminating such personal data even without the patient’s permission. 

The Rule also grants patients or a respective authorized representative the rights to access personal health information, such as the opportunity to acquire a copy of personal health records, examine them, and seek modifications if required.

The Security Rule

The Security Rule focuses on Electronic Protected Health Information (ePHI) and defines three kinds of safety protections that must be in place to ensure compliance: managerial, physical, as well as technological. The Rule defines several security requirements for these categories, and for every norm, it specifies both necessary and optional implementation requirements.

  • Technical: The Technical Safeguards are concerned with the technology utilized to preserve ePHI as well as allow data accessibility. Therefore, the essential requirement would be that ePHI remain secured to NIST standards after leaving a company’s inner firewalled systems, either at transit or at rest. This is performed to ensure that any compromise of private patient information leaves the untraceable, undecipherable, and useless.
  • Physical: Physical accessibility to ePHI, regardless of its position, is the subject of Physical Safeguards. ePHI may be kept in a distant data centre, the cloud, or on computers on the grounds of the HIPAA Covered Entity. Guidelines also detail the ways in which workstations and smart applications should be protected against illegal access.
  • Administrative: Administrative safeguards comprise the rules and processes that link the Privacy Rule with the Security Rule. They are critical components of a HIPAA compliance checklist. They need the assignment of a Security Officer and a Privacy Officer to implement steps to secure ePHI even while governing worker behaviour.

The Breach Notification Rule

The Breach Notification Rule mandates HIPAA-covered organizations and their professional colleagues to notify HIPAA-covered organizations and their company associates due to a breakdown of unauthorized protected health information. In addition, according to the HITECH Act, the same incident reporting rules established and implemented by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) extend to suppliers of personal health information and associated third-party network operators.

HIPAA Compliance Checklist for 2021

1. Recognize the HIPAA Privacy Rule 

The HIPAA Privacy Rule is the essential element that every relevant company must get acquainted with. The Privacy rule specifies how and when the authorized workers can have access to PHI. Further, this involves healthcare providers, administrators, attorneys, and everyone else involved with the patient data network.

2. Determine if the Privacy Rule applies to you 

You must analyze and validate that the Privacy Rule applies to the company, service, or healthcare institution. It is indispensable to keep in mind that the Privacy Rule safeguards personal PHI. Also, this is done by controlling the practices among all covered organizations, from health care professionals to attorneys, including insurance providers.

3. Safeguard the Correct Patient Data Types

Another activity to add to your HIPAA compliance checklist is to determine what categories of patient information businesses must safeguard and to start implementing appropriate privacy and security safeguards.

According to the HIPAA Privacy Rule, PHI is defined as “individually identifiable health information” maintained or transferred by registered organizations or business partners. Moreover, you can do it through any medium, from written and computer to vocal communication.

4. Avoid Possible HIPAA Violations

HIPAA breaches may arise in a variety of situations, so it’s essential to comprehend what a breach is and how it occurs so that you can undertake preventive actions. The most prevalent form of the breach is generally internal rather than the consequence of an external hacking or security breach. In most cases, breaches are the result of carelessness or only minimal compliance with the Privacy Rule.

5. Breach of HIPAA-Required Data

As previously stated, a security breach does not always seem to result from an external intrusion. The HIPAA security risk assessment checklist defines a security vulnerability as unauthorized persons or individuals obtaining PHI while they must not. Therefore, while it might be a malicious cyberattack meant to acquire PHI, it could also be a covered entity receiving or reading PHI at an inappropriate time or using a difficult way.

What is an OCR HIPAA Audit?

The Office for Civil Rights (OCR) of the Department of Health and Human Services performs regular inspections to verify that covered organizations and associated business partners comply with HIPAA laws. In 2001, OCR launched a prototype annual audit where it assessed covered businesses’ activities using a list of guidelines defined as the audit program protocol. In 2016, the standard was modified.

OCR intends to undertake both office and on-site inspections. Entities chosen for the inspection would be automatically notified and required to produce records and relevant information according to a document-request notice. 

OCR requires audited covered businesses to provide required evidence through OCR’s secure platform within ten working days from the official request day. Documents will be submitted electronically by audited companies using a secure audit platform on OCR’s portal. Auditors will next evaluate the supplied documents and create and communicate draft conclusions with the organization. Finally, internal auditors will react to such draft conclusions in writing, and the written replies will be published in the official audit report.

FAQs

Why is it important to comply with HIPAA?

HIPAA compliance is critical for the following reasons:

  • Eliminate job-lock caused by pre-existing health problems to ensure health insurance availability.
  • Reduce the incidence of healthcare malpractice and exploitation.
  • Implement health information norms.
  • Ensure the safety and confidentiality of medical information.

Is HIPAA Compliance mandatory for healthcare firms?

HIPAA and its security rule include insurance providers and other related organizations as covered entities, implying that it does extend to medical insurance. HIPAA compliance is required for any firm that provides health coverage to pay the expenses of healthcare.

What entities have to comply with HIPAA?

HIPAA compliance is required for any firm that provides health coverage to pay the expenses of healthcare. These entities include health insurance agencies, HMOs, employer health plans, and some government services that fund healthcare, including Medicaid and Medicare, which are examples of health plans.

How do I ensure that my MySQL Database is HIPAA Compliance?

You can ensure if your MYSQL Database is HIPAA Compliance in three ways:

  • Encryption of disks
  • Virtual Partition Encryption in Real-Time
  • Cell-Level Encryption

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