The Health Information Portability and Accountability Act has a variety of specific frameworks and rules that can make matters difficult for the average IT professional in the medical industry. From ensuring that information can be shared and accessed by authorized personnel to protecting that data from malicious hackers and other threats, medical organizations must be on their game when approaching HIPAA email and data management.
One of the biggest problems in the past few months has been the relationship between health care providers, which are covered by HIPAA, and other third-party vendors or resources they interact with regularly. Organizations in this field must ensure that they are going about these procedures in a compliant, secure and consistent fashion or face the consequences of fines, penalties and worse, a data breach.
Health IT Security recently reported that the HIPAA Privacy Rule, which is used to govern the protocols and procedures in place at medical organizations for authorization and disclosure of patient data, can be a difficult one to follow at times. The news provider explained that third party service providers of certain kinds will not be covered by HIPAA, and thus will not always have the same types of protective measures in place for the data that is being accessed.
The source affirmed that disclosures can occur for myriad reasons, many times relating back to patient needs such as the supplementation of information for life insurance coverage applications, while others will relate to marketing and pharmaceutical data demand going directly to the health care provider itself.
In most cases, having sound access management and disclosure policies internally will reduce the complexity of these interactions and can help to avoid problems with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Office of Civil Rights, which conducts the audits.
Covering the backend
Organizations in the health care community should always consider using email encryption and HIPAA-acceptable data management solutions to ensure that all of the work being done from the policy standpoint is sound. By partnering with a firm that specializes in HIPAA communications and data security compliance activities, the use of resources will often be streamlined and optimized for stronger overall performances over time.
At the end of the day, HIPAA does not have to be a threat as long as decision-makers are taking the proper steps toward management and privacy protection.