HIPAA Compliance for Small Business Health Care Providers

Posted by Orion Network Solutions on April 16th, 2016

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) is the standard for protecting patient data. Hence, any company or business that deals with PHI (protected health information) must make sure that every required process, network, and physical security measure is followed and in place, including as the following:

1.    Covered entities – Anyone providing the payment, healthcare operations, and treatment
2.    Business associates – Anyone who can provide support in payment, operations, or treatment, and anyone who can access to information of the patient
3.    Others significant entities – Business associates of business associates or subcontractors

Even small business health care providers must ensure complete HIPAA compliance to provide the highest-quality service. However, most small business health care providers encounter challenges along the way—especially when it comes to the security of protected health information. The following are some of the challenges they face to be HIPAA compliant:

1.    Lack of training and education – A survey found this to be the biggest challenge in HIPAA compliance. Training may involve teaching the staff to protect display information in the field or in the office, as well as to secure every technology for digital transmission.

2.    Lack of information about HIPAA compliance – Vague guidance on what they can do to become compliant may lead to the implementation of many different security controls that may be irrelevant and not tailored to their needs.

3.    Lack of tools – The HIPAA security toolkit was created by the National Institute of Standards and Technology to help small business healthcare providers assess their operational security. However, most of them are unable to fully or partially utilize the kit, requiring professional consultants to perform the assessments instead. In some cases, an organization prefers to stick to that toolkit without seeking a professional assessment.

4.    The behavior or users – A small business healthcare provider may provide its own apps and tools to access data or to provide patients with a means to access their data through unsecured personal devices. Security efforts must be tailored to those actions.

5.    Agreements with business associates –It can be challenging to encourage business associates to comply with HIPAA regulations. Third-party businesses like cloud computing providers are already considered as business associates under the changes to HIPAA in 2013. Under regulations, all business associates must comply with every aspect of the HIPAA privacy law, so they are subject to audits performed by the Office for Civil Rights. Moreover, they will be accountable for any breaches or violations.

To be HIPAA compliant, you need to host data with a company that is HIPAA compliant, too. According to the USA Department of Health and Human Services, the service provider must possess certain physical, technical, and administrative safeguards, such as limited facility access and control with authorized access and electronic protected health data. Moreover, a small business healthcare provider must work with a company that has excellent technical policies to cover recovery, integrity, and maintenance controls.

Sources: http://www.onlinetech.com/resources/references/what-is-hipaa-compliance

About the Author:

Mike Rana is the Chief Technology Advisor of Orion Network Solutions. Orion Network Solutions specializes in providing Computer Installation, Maintenance, and Consulting services along with 24x7 help desk services for small and midsize companies. We provide network solutions that enable small businesses to not only lower their management cost but also increases employee productivity at the same low price. We offer network solution that becomes an integral part of your organization and can provide an increase in productivity of your organization.

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Orion Network Solutions
Joined: May 14th, 2015
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