Healthcare providers everywhere want to provide the smoothest patient experience possible and deliver the best medical results they can. But in their quest to achieve these goals, many organizations run into a roadblock when it comes to health data security. Caregivers need to have access to vital information about their patients, but they also must maintain tight controls over who can access that protected health information (PHI) and what they can do with it. That’s why healthcare providers and business associates of healthcare providers are significantly increasing their investments in services and technologies focused on security fortification.
This is an issue of regulatory compliance. A central focus in healthcare is the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), a 1996 piece of legislation that dictates how organizations must safeguard certain health information. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), complying with HIPAA is challenging because of two key stipulations – the Privacy Rule, which established national standards for the protection of health data, and the Security Rule, which protects certain information when it’s held or transferred in electronic form.
Simply keeping data private and secure may not sound like a big ordeal, but for many organizations, it is. In order to keep up with HIPAA’s many rules, many IT decision-makers have opted to hire large teams of specialized compliance officers and deploy sophisticated technology. All of this costs money – far more than the act’s framers originally anticipated. Medical Economics reported that when HIPAA first came out, HHS estimated that complying would initially cost the healthcare industry $113 million, with subsequent maintenance costs of $14.5 million each year. This estimate fell far short – the actual costs of HIPAA compliance are now estimated at $8.3 billion a year.
According to MD Magazine, it can be a major ordeal if your organization has to go through a HIPAA compliance audit – it will cost you significant time and resources to go through that process, and you’ve got to worry about potential fines as well. That’s why smart organizations are thinking ahead and doing what they can to prevent compliance issues, explained Houston-based healthcare attorney Rachel Rose.
“An organization can avoid adverse audit findings,” Rose said. “Being proactive is crucial, and the best way to avoid fines is through compliance.”
So what can your organization do about compliance? For starters, you can team up with Zones. One of the many security services we offer is our HIPAA Security Assessment – an in-depth appraisal of what your team is and isn’t doing to adhere to HIPAA policies and best practices. Zones can provide an in-depth appraisal of your approach, and after identifying any gaps or areas of weakness, we’ll develop countermeasures in three areas – people, processes, and technologies – to help you meet all HIPAA rule requirements.
In the long run, this process should save you a lot of headaches by minimizing any non-compliance risk prior to a potential audit. Our goal is to quickly and efficiently find out where you stand, fine-tune your procedures, analyze potential risks, and draw up a robust remediation project plan that will set you down the path to success.
And that’s just the beginning. When it comes to Security Fortification, we at Zones can do a lot for you. Click below and see for yourself.