If you have a medical office, or any related medical service business, you will need to comply with the HIPAA requirements. These are strict requirements that are in place to help ensure patients medical and other personal information are kept private at all times. For many companies, the steps required to remain in compliance with HIPAA can be extremely complicated and time consuming, which can make it difficult to run the business efficiently.

This is why small to mid-sized companies in the medical industry often work with an IT services provider to handle their data security management. Allowing a third-party provider that specializes in data security in general, and HIPAA related security specifically, can help ensure your business is compliant with all relevant laws so that you can focus on providing the best services to patients.

Data Security Requirements for HIPAA

The data security requirements for HIPAA go well beyond simply not sharing patient information without authorization. You need to make sure that the data on your systems is properly encrypted, only accessible to people who have been approved to see it, and that it is protected from hackers. The following are just some of the key things that need to be considered:

  • Firewalls – Any system that contains personal health information (PHI) must be stored behind a firewall that will prevent unauthorized access.
  • Encrypted Drives – Any storage devices that house any type of patient information need to be encrypted using industry standard technologies to ensure that the data is safe. This applies whether the drive is permanently or temporarily housing the data.
  • AWS Applications – If you are using Amazon Web Services (AWS) or other cloud applications, all the PHI data must be behind a firewall and encrypted as well. You cannot just assume that the cloud services provider systems are up to the approved levels of HIPPA security. Your company is responsible for auditing and ensuring the data is protected.

PHI Protection Monitoring

In addition to making sure that the personal health information of your clients is safe on all computer systems, you also need to properly monitor the environment so you know that it is not being accessed by unauthorized people. This is an ongoing task that must be performed on a regular basis. Some of these things can be monitored using software suites that track access to data, but there must also be people who are tasked with this type of monitoring. Making sure that you have these things taken care of will help to ensure you are always in compliance with HIPAA requirements:

  • Monitor Access to Data – You need to have a system in place that allows you to easily see who has access to sensitive data. This will typically be done through your security or network access tools.
  • Monitor Who Accesses Data – Anytime someone accesses personal health information, it should be logged so that it can be audited later. This can be done through mobile apps, software applications, and more.
  • HIPAA Compliance Committee – There needs to be a person or team of people who are actively reviewing the data related to who is accessing this type of data. They should perform random audits and other steps to ensure only authorized people are accessing or attempting to access this information.

These tasks can be performed either by an employee or by a third-party data security management provider. Many companies prefer using the third party since they are experts in this area and will also be able to provide unbiased results and advice.

Make Sure Your Business is HIPAA Compliant

If you are running any type of business that is directly or indirectly involved with medical information, you need to make HIPAA compliance a priority. GSDSolutions provides experienced IT support in Mountain View and throughout the Bay Area and Central Valley to make this process easier and more effective. Be aware there is no single ‘shrink wrapped’ software package that can provide you with all the HIPAA requirements you need, so make sure you have the right people and systems in place to avoid any HIPAA violations. Contact GSDSolutions today to schedule a free consultation to discuss the compliance and IT service needs of your business.

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