In 1996, the United States Congress passed the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, better known as HIPAA, in an attempt to streamline the healthcare system while also maintaining individual privacy of individuals’ health records. This regulation allowed people to more effectively and securely transfer their health coverage without the risk of fraud or abuse of health records. As you can imagine, your technology plays a significant role in making this happen.
Today, we want to examine four ways your technology works to keep your systems HIPAA compliant. Regardless of what industry you identify your business as, you hold health records, provided you offer health insurance to your team, requiring you to be in compliance with HIPAA standards.
This is difficult for a lot of companies, which is a problem. The fines imposed by noncompliance with HIPAA can be massive, which is why your company needs to know how it can successfully handle this type of sensitive employee information.
How Does Technology Factor In?
Businesses need technology to survive, thrive, and compete, but the role it plays with HIPAA is more about data confidentiality. This is difficult when organizations outsource their benefits and insurance to third-party providers. When this data is sent digitally, it opens up countless avenues for the data to be intercepted, thereby putting it in noncompliance with HIPAA.
Let’s look at some simple ways your organization can use technology to support its HIPAA compliance.
- Secure communications: You’ll want to only use secure methods of sharing individual health records. This means that no ePHI should ever be sent through a text message or instant message. Instead, you should use platforms that have the necessary security measures built into them, like encryption.
- Using the cloud to your benefit: Some people fault the cloud for not being secure, especially in the case of ePHI. However, the cloud is widely considered one of the better platforms for hosting this information, as it can be stored and shared without needing to be sent through an unsecured network. There are no paper documents to misplace and no files to hijack while in transit.
- Keeping passwords secure and updated: Passwords play a pivotal role in keeping your files and infrastructure secure from threats, and they play the same role for ePHI. Encourage your team to change their passwords on a regular basis, and be sure that they are making them complex with upper and lower case letters, numbers, and symbols.
- Improving training practices: All businesses need to work toward data security, which also involves training employees on how to properly handle this data. By training your staff, you ensure that they are prepared (at least, as well as they can be) to do what must be done to keep your data safe according to HIPAA and other compliance standards.
There is a reason this regulation exists, and it’s because this kind of information is extremely valuable to hackers and scammers. You can take your protection of it one step further by working with Reciprocal Technologies. To learn more, call us today at (317) 759-3972.