HIPAA Security Standards Checklist
If your business operates within the healthcare space or has overlap in handling sensitive medical information, then HIPAA compliance isn’t optional. However, today there’s a divide between knowing you need to be compliant and actually achieving compliance. You already have so much to take care of within your business, and sometimes compliance-related activities can fall through the cracks if you're not careful.
But, failure to apply to the latest HIPAA standards can lead to penalties, fines, and a loss of customer trust, all of which could be disastrous for your business. Learn what the HIPAA Security Standards are and how you can apply them to your business to achieve and maintain compliance.
What Are the HIPAA Security Standards?
HIPAA is broken down into two different overarching rules: privacy and security. HIPAA’s security standards are spelled out in the HIPAA Security Rule.
First, what is the HIPAA Security Rule?
HIPAA’s Security Rule provides regulations to help improve the storage, collection, sharing, and general use of electronic protected health information (ePHI). It’s wide in scope but covers any personal information that can be used to identify an individual.
The Security Rule is then broken up into three distinct parts:
- Administrative safeguards: These help to establish policies and procedures that employers and employees can follow to remain compliant.
- Physical safeguards: These deal with the physical storage, use, and protection of data, including overall facility security.
- Technical safeguards: These provide tangible written policies that deal with the storage, use, and access of ePHI.
These three safeguards work together to create an enforceable set of standards and procedures to remain HIPAA compliant.
HIPAA Security Rule Checklist
The entirety of the Security Rule is outlined within HIPAA itself. The best checklist is actually reading through it and applying it to your business. But for a quick look at the types of standards and procedures, check out our Security Rule checklist below:
HIPAA Administrative Safeguards:
- Have you conducted a risk assessment to understand your levels of vulnerability and any present security or privacy issues?
- Do you have policies in place to detect, prevent, or report any security breaches?
- Do you have an employee working as a HIPAA security officer to ensure compliance?
- Do you have processes in place for vetting any third-party software providers or vendors?
- Do you have procedures to prevent data access by unverified third-parties?
- Do you have regular training for all employees who will come in contact with ePHI?
- Do you have HIPAA breach reporting protocols in place?
- Do you regularly conduct evaluations and reviews to ensure your policies are up to the latest HIPAA standards?
HIPAA Physical Safeguards:
- Do you have access controls to limit facility access or grant access in the case of an emergency?
- Do you have policies in place to prevent device theft or tampering?
- Do you have protocols in place to verify the identity of people using certain workstations and software?
- Do you have automatic log-off features in place to prevent unwarranted software/workstation access?
- Do you have protocols in place for the secure removal or transfer of any ePHI data?
- Do you have workstation use policies for proper handling or ePHI data?
HIPAA Technical Safeguards:
- Do you have audit control processors to monitor any systems that use ePHI data?
- Can you verify the identities of any user accessing your system?
- Do you have a secure network and transmission protocols to ensure no data breaches will occur?
- Are you utilizing encryption protocols when sending/transferring any information?
- Can you ensure that no ePHI data is being altered by unverified parties?
For an in-depth look at how well you’re achieving HIPAA compliance, there’s a tool that can help called the Security Risk Assessment tool. Simply download the tool and run through the self-assessment. The results of the assessment will tell you the steps you have to take to achieve full HIPAA compliance.
Achieving and maintaining HIPAA compliance is all about integrating solid practices and procedures into your business. Compliance requires following the step-by-step set of procedures in accordance with the HIPAA checklist above.
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