Medical records are incredibly sensitive. The security of a person’s medical information entitles them not just to privacy. It can also shield vulnerable people from discrimination. People who deal with chronic health problems or mental illnesses could potentially find their careers stalled and social lives hampered if someone inappropriately accessed their medical information. That’s one reason HIPAA is so essential.
HIPAA stands for the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. First passed in 1996, HIPAA has evolved a great deal over the years. Much of this is due to changes in technology and culture. Recently, there have been several significant data breaches related to health insurance companies. There have also been cases of people inappropriately accessing records in hospitals. Patient Health Information, or PHI, is to be respected and guarded carefully. Healthcare workers are even advised not to discuss patient information in common areas like elevators, for example.
HIPAA in 2020 requires facilities to audit themselves six times. These audits include a security risk assessment and training employees on specific policies and procedures. Medical facilities need to be aware of who the vendors and contractors in the building are. There also needs to be a plan in place for responding to violations of HIPAA when they occur. All of these things are essential parts of HIPAA compliance.
Three types of security need oversight when it comes to HIPAA in 2020. The first is around technology. Cybersecurity has come a long way, and all organizations should be making the most of it. Using firewalls and encryption appropriately can protect a patient’s sensitive information. Prevention is crucial with HIPAA. IBM has discovered that it can take over half a year to detect security breaches.
Physical and administrative security is also important. Physical security mostly refers to access control. Not all workers need to access all areas or files. In 2020, even business associates will need to demonstrate an awareness of HIPAA and agree to uphold in. Administrative security means implementing policies and procedures that will help an organization run smoothly. The most significant part of administrative security is ensuring that all employees are aware and informed when it comes to these policies.
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