HIPAA Privacy Rule Requires Businesses to Take Security Precautions

No one wants their medical records or healthcare-related information to be released without permission. The HIPAA Privacy Rule was created to mandate the standards healthcare providers must follow to protect people's medical information. Thanks to the HIPAA Privacy Rule, patients own the rights to their own information and have the ability to request their information from providers. Though the Privacy Rule is advantageous for individuals, organizations who deal with healthcare-related information and digital communications must ensure they are compliant with guidelines. If they're not, they may potentially suffer dire regulatory consequences.

Data that is transferred through digital means is nearly always at risk. In fact, 9 out of 10 organizations experience challenges due to data mishandling. To help your organization stay fully compliant with the federal HIPAA guidelines, you must be vigilant in ensuring the tools and tactics you use to manage patient data remain secure.

What You Need to Know

As you seek to make sure your organization follows the laws mandated in the HIPAA Privacy Rule, it is crucial to understand the following elements:

The threat of having data stolen has never been greater. You only need to review recent history to see why. In the fourth quarter of 2017, over 500,000 individuals' healthcare records were exposed due to data breaches. In just the first three months of 2018, data breaches already impacted more than one million individuals.

Compliance with the HIPAA Privacy Rule is vital if you want for your healthcare-related business to remain operational and thrive. In the instance of a HIPAA violation, an organization is responsible for notifying individuals, media, business associates, and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. A data breach often brings accompanying fines and lawsuits — not to mention the inevitable loss in revenue that comes from losing the trust of patients and business associates.

Solutions are available to help see you through the maze of the laws in the HIPAA Privacy Rule. Perhaps you have looked into HIPAA certification. Though there is no Health and Human Services-mandated or endorsed certification program, any training you do can be valuable in helping you better understand these complex laws and practices. Also, thanks to 8x8's business phone services, cloud contact center, and unified communications tools, you can feel assured that you don't need to know everything—nor do you need to do it all on your own.

Self-Evaluate Your Compliance

You probably are wondering what you need to do to keep your organization in compliance with the HIPAA Privacy Rule — and for good reason. A self-evaluation is always a good idea to help you assess where your organization stands. Start by asking yourself a few questions:

What is considered a HIPAA violation? Am I in compliance with HIPAA laws? Organizations can violate HIPAA laws in hundreds of ways, but some of the major violations occur when unauthorized sharing of protected health information occurs, when organizations neglect sharing protected health information with individuals, and when patient records are stolen.

What businesses are required to abide by HIPAA laws? If you are a part of a healthcare-related group or organization that electronically stores or processes medical data, you are required to abide by HIPAA guidelines. The transmittal or reception of medical records also requires you to comply with HIPAA laws. And, in many instances, your business partners must also abide by HIPAA laws.

How can I protect my organization from violating the HIPAA Privacy Rules? You can't do it alone. There is simply too much to know, which means there are too many opportunities for error. The good news is that 8x8 is able to do the heavy lifting for you. As a HIPAA-compliant business associate, 8x8 knows HIPAA rules, regulations, and best practices inside and out.

What's Next?

The next step in ensuring top-notch levels of security relative to HIPAA privacy laws is to explore the solutions 8x8 providesto small, medium, and enterprise-level businesses. For example, 8x8's business phone service is able to work with existing mobile devices and allows for secure phone calls and text-based communication between caregivers and office staff. Similarly, doctors can privately and securely have conversations with patients remotely and patients are quickly and accurately connected to the right individual when they need to discuss confidential matters.

When it comes to security, 8x8 provides reliable and compliant cloud solutions at a demanding level rarely seen by other cloud providers. Don't take your chances with a subpar cloud-based telecom system. Call 1-866-879-8647 or fill out our form online to request a no-obligation quote from an 8x8 Product Specialist.

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