HIPAA Cyber Security Basics

Modern cyber security requires that individuals and businesses pay close attention to developments in digital data and storage, and many companies deal with files that require compliance with HIPAA rules and cyber security.

HIPAA is an acronym for the “Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act,” and it was a law designed to protect health care data with nationwide standards for the storage, security, and transference of files.

Files that require protection are called Electronic Protected Health Information (EPHI), and the steps required to protect those files include:

  1. Conducting a yearly data risk assessment
  2. Implementing safeguards
  3. Ensuring employees know data safety practices
  4. Implementing encryption for all devices
  5. Logging access of files sent and received

Research suggests that many businesses with a need to comply with HIPAA rules aren’t using all of these methods. Lax methods and failure to abide by HIPAA cyber security rules can mean legal trouble for companies when a data breach occurs.

The first step a business can take to ensure HIPAA compliance is to speak with a technology advisor about handling Electronic Protected Health Information and conduct an in-depth technology risk assessment.

Options for Protecting Patient Record Privacy

According to the federal government’s information on HIPAA compliance, the purpose of the rule is to protect the privacy of a person’s health records while also allowing the convenient sharing of health data between appropriate parties, such as doctors and hospitals.

The creation of digital health records has increased the efficiency and level of care available to modern patients, but it has come with the risk of cyber attacks.

The government shares:

“The Security Rule, like all of the Administrative Simplification rules, applies to health plans, health care clearinghouses, and to any health care provider who transmits health information in electronic form in connection with a transaction for which the Secretary of HHS has adopted standards under HIPAA (the “covered entities”).”

How Common are Data Breaches?

The largest breach was the Anthem breach of 2015.

“It was the largest health care breach ever, and it opened the floodgates on a landmark year. More than 113 million medical records were compromised last year, according to the Office of Civil Rights (OCR) under Health and Human Services. Consider it this way: if each case represented a single individual, one in three Americans would have been a victim.”

A single breach of that size hasn’t occurred since; however, data breaches have continued to plague the health care industry. According to further numbers shared by the PBS report, around 3.5 million records experienced breaches in just the first three months of 2016.

Let Magnet Solutions Conduct a Data Risk Assessment

Are you an entity that must act under the rules of HIPAA? Magnet Solutions can help you determine whether your organization, business, or health care group is using technologically secure methods for the storage and transference of protected records with a data risk assessment. Contact us today to set up an appointment and to begin getting your questions answered about cyber security.