What Are the Necessary Levels of HIPAA Compliance?

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) is designed to set the standard for sensitive patient data protection. Its rules stipulate that any company that handles protected health information (PHI) must have physical, network, and process security measures in place. Following these measures ensures that they are HIPAA compliant. 

Today, we will uncover the various levels of HIPAA to help you remain compliant. 

HIPAA Security Rule

The Security Rule relates to how PHI or ePHI needs to be created, accessed, processed, and stored. In essence, it’s all about what needs to be done to keep information safe. It contains three parts:

  • Technical Safeguards – All ePHI must be encrypted to NIST standards when in transit. A means of access control must be in place, and activity logs and audit controls are required. 
  • Physical Safeguards – This relates to physical access to ePHI. Policies need to be implemented to restrict the use of workstations with access to this information – and the same applies to mobile devices. 
  • Administrative Safeguards – Includes policies and procedures such as risk assessments, risk management policies, contingency plans, and restricting third-party access. 

All of the above are required as part of the HIPAA Security Rule, though there are additional elements of each safeguard that can be added to further tighten security measures. 

HIPAA Privacy Rule

This rule came into action in 2003 and is directly related to how digital PHI can be used. All healthcare institutions will have to abide by the HIPAA Privacy Rule, as well as health plan providers. 

Effectively, the rule is all about demanding you have the correct safeguards in place to protect PHI and keep it private. It also lets patients have certain rights over their health information, such as the ability to get copies of records if they so wish. 

HIPAA Breach Notification Rule

With this rule, organizations must tell patients when there has been a privacy breach. They also need to inform the Department of Health and Human Services of the breach, and the media also needs to be informed if the breach affects over five hundred patients. 

HIPAA Enforcement Rule

When there has been a breach of protected health information, the HIPAA Enforcement Rule is in place to dictate the punishments that are handed out. Fines can be handed out up to $50,000 for every violation, and the maximum fine per year is $1,500,000! 

Effectively, businesses need to ensure they abide by the rules and maintain HIPAA compliance. The most condensed way possible of explaining HIPAA is that it’s all about protecting patient’s data. 

Understandably, there’s a lot to understand and it can be difficult knowing how to set your business up with all the HIPAA standards and regulations. This is why working with an IT company can help you get your digital systems up to scratch. 

Failure to comply with HIPAA rules and regulations can land your business in significant financial distress. Not only that but your reputation and public perception can be ruined, making it harder to find future customers.