Almost every entity in the healthcare industry deals with digital patient data. While access to this kind of data helps in improving overall care, it must be safeguarded per the rules of HIPAA. Be it a medical practice, hospital, or any other healthcare organization, they cannot underestimate the importance of building a robust HIPAA compliance program. The increasing focus on accountability in the healthcare industry indicates that the market for patient safety and risk management solutions will increase from USD 1.3 billion in 2019 to USD 2.2 billion by 2024, at a CAGR of 11.2% during the forecast period, according to the figures released by MarketsandMarkets Research. They are, thus, relying more on new and innovative technology to ensure compliance.
Any healthcare entity in the industry that handles Personal Health Information (PHI) makes sure that all security measures are in place and followed accurately (physical and network) to keep up with the HIPAA standards. It helps them protect the privacy of each patient and improve the efficiency and quality of care while adopting new technology.
However, there were 2,546 data breaches recorded from 2009 to 2018 in the United States, resulting in the exposure of 189,945,874 healthcare records (equivalent to almost 59% of the country’s population), according to HIPAA Journal. These data breaches in the organization can incur fines and other penalties. That is why it is important to follow the security protocols seriously.
Here are 4 ways you can use technology to better protect and maintain sensitive data while ensuring HIPAA compliance:
Prepare Your Healthcare Workers
Nearly 78% of healthcare employees were classified as risks or novices during an assessment study of their level of security awareness, according to HIPAA Journal. Health organizations often have written policies and procedures related to HIPAA compliance. However, the issue is that the employees are not always aware of any changes in HIPAA regulations.
With an efficient HIPAA compliance portal, you can eliminate the time-consuming burden of keeping abreast of the ever-changing rules, regulations, and required actions, according to First Healthcare Compliance. It allows you to inform the employees of your compliance status with regular notifications and even alert you to actions needed.
Establish Security Basics
You may be creating policies to strengthen security and maintain compliance in the workplace. However, you can use specific technologies for this purpose as well. For instance, you can consider using Unique User Authentication. It will provide unique usernames and passwords to all users who will access any device on your network. You can even use Access control technology to ensure a user’s session gets terminated after a certain amount of idle time to prevent others from accessing the data.
Take Advantage of Cloud Encryption
There are several cloud-based solution providers that offer you a safe way to store PHI offsite. It not only provides better protection but also decreases costs by eliminating the need to maintain big in-house servers. Any data (including documents, images, videos, and more) that is stored by these providers is encrypted using special algorithms for maximum security.
Monitor All Actives with Audit Logging
You can generate an audit log to monitor all healthcare data transactions. It will allow you to see what occurred in the transaction and who took the actions. So, if there is ever a breach, you can check the audit log to determine what happened and why and place better measures to avoid such risks in the future.
If you do not incorporate technology in your compliance program, you will continue to be plagued by data breaches, irrespective of the level of maturity of the security defenses. Technology is the key tool in increasing the security awareness of your healthcare employees and ensuring compliance with HIPAA guidelines.