September 3, 2018
HIPAA- WHY IS COMPLIANCE SO HARD TO ACHIEVE?
HIPAA is made of several rules that comprise of regulatory standards, that should be followed to achieve an effective state of HIPAA compliance program. These HIPAA rules are national standards that are meant for the use and disclosure of the protected health information (PHI). PHI is any demographic information that could be used to identify the patient’s identity. PHI comprises of patients name, address, date of birth, social security number, information regarding insurance and any information regarding the patient’s medical record.
If you look carefully in the medical sector you would be shocked to know that there are many cases of HIPAA data breaches. There are various cases of breach either large or small. If we try to ascertain the reason of breach it is known that there are two distinct causes for this breach.
REASON FOR BREACH OF HIPAA COMPLIANCE:
The first error is owing to human fault. As per records the HHS Office for Civil Rights stated the reason of the maximum breaches as high as 78% is due to human error, this includes lost and stolen devices and leaking the PHI without consent. It is quite a high number and the fact worth noting is that these cases of breach could be prevented. It could have been prevented by means of proper and continuous HIPAA compliance training.
HIPAA regulations make it compulsory that the annual security awareness training should be given to all the members of the covered entity’s workforce. There should be strict guidance also for the Business Associate workforce who are required to access the protected health information (PHI) and the electronic protected health information (ePHI) should be bestowed with this training.
The training should however not be limited to the annual requirement, there should be periodic security reminders and the inclusion of HIPAA compliance templates.
The second error in the compliance of HIPAA is the implementation of the adequate technical safeguards. This category is serious as it requires efforts and inclusion of some costs to implement the HIPAA. Technical safeguard requirements make it essential that areas wherein the use of unique user identification for all workforce members, ensures substantial authorized access and the verification of the person or the entity that needs access to the ePHI is to be assured.
Efforts as simple as having settings for auto logoff to a minimal amount of activity that is for about five to seven minutes for any device that could lead to access to ePHI could be of help. Also the presence of lockable unauthorized viewing of the workstation desktop or the laptop.
Getting the data that is in transmission as encrypted could be a good way to protect the data. It is important zone and to this the organizations should pay heed too. The organizations should see to it that they can create, store, transmit or get the ePHI that has been encrypted. This should be done as a part of HIPAA compliance. The organizations should be proactive in implementing all aspects of HIPAA compliance.
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