What Is HIPAA?
HIPAA, or the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, is a set of titles enacted by the United States Congress in 1996. The act was created to facilitate access to health care, protect patient privacy, and minimize fraud and abuse. Since 2003, all organizations that do work related to healthcare have been required to comply with HIPAA guidelines.
HIPAA regulations affect a few key areas:
- Handling of health information
- Storage of written and electronic forms
- Electronic billing
- Simplification of electronic administrative processes
HIPAA and IT Departments
Because of the need to protect electronic information, much of the burden of following HIPAA regulations falls on IT support departments. All processes of creating, storing, and protecting Electronic
Patient Health Information (EPHI) must be performed in compliance with HIPAA.
An IT department or IT consultants are generally responsible for a number of key safeguards that protect sensitive patient information:
- Access Control: Organizations are responsible for ensuring that only authorized users can access protected health information. Technical safeguards include user IDs and passwords, encryptions, and automatic log-off procedures.
- Audit Reports: Reports or logs are necessary to keep track of electronic activity. This is essential for identifying and tracing any violations.
- Integrity Controls: You must implement controls that ensure patient information (EPHI) hasn’t been deleted or altered. You will also need to have backup and recovery systems in place to ensure that no information is lost.
- Network and Transmission Security: You will need online safeguards to prevent unauthorized access to patient information over email, remote online access, or cloud systems.
Do You Need HIPAA Compliance IT Support from a Third Party?
Some organizations are able to implement and maintain HIPAA compliance within their own IT Department. If you choose to monitor your own compliance, your IT staff will need to be familiar with HIPAA regulations in detail, including any updates to HIPAA policies. Maintaining compliance includes regular monitoring of network security, firewall, data migration processes, encryption and log on practices, and HIPAA reporting.
Many organizations choose to outsource HIPAA compliance to a specialist IT support team. This can be particularly useful for small and medium-sized organizations that have a smaller or no IT staff. Ensuring a network’s compliance and security is generally a full-time job, and for many organizations, outsourcing this work is cheaper than hiring additional IT staff. HIPAA compliance also requires detailed expertise. A third party specializing in HIPAA compliance can provide that expertise and the peace of mind that comes with it.
HIPAA Compliance Auditing from CMIT Solutions
At CMIT Solutions, we provide expert HIPAA compliance implementation and auditing. When we complete a HIPAA audit, we ensure that your organization is not only meeting but exceeding compliance guidelines, and that your staff will be able to maintain compliance easily in the future. Throughout this process, we work towards two key goals: cost-effectiveness and risk mitigation. We want to make sure that your organization is at little to no risk of violating HIPAA policies and that you’ll be able to save money with efficient procedures.
Our HIPAA compliance auditing and IT system implementation services include the following:
- Data migration
- Data storage systems (including both hardware and cloud systems)
- Data storage security
- Cloud backup
- Disaster recovery
- Network monitoring
- Review of security solutions
- Thorough risk assessment
- Multi-factor log-on processes
- Staff training
Contact Us for a Free Quote for HIPAA Compliant IT Support
If you are concerned about your HIPAA compliance or would like to improve your IT solutions, please contact us for a quote today.