Intro to HIPAA Compliance
Any company that deals with protected health data must be HIPAA compliant. These regulations outline how to properly secure sensitive patient information. It’s up to each individual healthcare facility to ensure they are in compliance with HIPAA.
A main reason for these security regulations is to combat the threat of cyber crime.
The rate of cyber crime has grown considerably in recent years, and healthcare is one of the most targeted industries. In 2018 alone, over 15 million healthcare records were compromised.
HIPAA stands for the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, which came into effect in 1996. It was developed as a way to protect the personal information of patients. While this has always been important, the rise of cyber crime has made it even more of a priority. All medical organizations must ensure that they’re HIPAA compliant in order to maintain fully legal operations.
How to Become HIPAA Compliant
There are two main ways for an organization to become HIPAA compliant. You can either do it yourself, or you can hire an IT company to do it for you.
The Internal Approach
If you feel confident in your understanding of technology and current HIPAA requirements, and your staff has the time, you could update your systems internally. This might save you money in the short term, but it is risky, as technology is always changing.
If you are going to do it internally, then it’s important that your IT staff is fully trained in the specific data storage processes required by HIPAA. This will ensure that all the regulations are correctly followed.
The Outsourced Approach
It’s much easier to outsource the work to an IT company. They’ll have the knowledge, experience, and expertise required to ensure that you’re HIPAA compliant, without disturbing your daily operations.
A local IT company has additional advantages. For example, an IT company in Lakewood, Colorado, would be a great choice for a business in Denver. The company would be familiar with any state laws and regulations that need to be followed, as well as have a greater interest in the community economy and be able to more easily visit your offices in-person to solve problems.
Once you find the best company for you, they will likely dive deep into the details of your current technology situation, in order to see where they need to bring you into HIPAA compliance. This is called a gap analysis. It’s a way to get an overview of your current position in regards to the necessary regulations. From there, the IT services provider will secure your networks and systems, bringing them into line with industry standards.
Then, the IT company you hire will work to ensure that you stay HIPAA compliant going forward. HIPAA regulations are always being updated as technology evolves. Even though your business is now compliant, it won’t stay that way without active support.
Take Action to Be HIPAA Compliant
Cyber criminals are always advancing their tactics, and it’s important that organizations are also moving forward, so that they can stay one step ahead. Proactive cybersecurity measures can save your business a lot of money, as well as maintain your reputation and customer loyalty.
When it comes to your patients’ data, there’s little space for complacency. The risks posed by data falling into the wrong hands are too significant. Take action now, and hire an IT company to reach HIPAA compliance. It’s only a legal obligation, it’s a moral one. Your patients are counting on you.