The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, or HIPAA, is a regulation that was put in place to protect patients’ data and create industry standards for handling confidential information. It legally requires healthcare organizations to meet a certain standard of data security.
Today, with healthcare organizations being increasingly targeted by ransomware and other malicious cyber attacks, that security is more important than ever. If you don’t ensure you are HIPAA compliant, then you run the risk of major financial loss in the form of lost data, penalty fines, and loss of consumer trust. Because of this, comprehensive HIPAA compliance is vital for any healthcare business.
Importance of HIPAA
HIPAA has played a very important role in protecting medical patients’ information and privacy. It prevents healthcare organizations from becoming lenient with how they handle their data security, particularly because they hold information that is highly sensitive.
Cybersecurity is especially important in the healthcare sector, as it has faced increasing attacks by cybercriminals. Healthcare is now one of the industries most highly targeted by cyber crime, and the information of almost 15.1 million patients was compromised in healthcare cyber attacks in 2018.
If you don’t think that your business is going to fall victim to an attack, take a look at a recent example of a healthcare data breach. American Medical Collection Agency (AMCA) was hacked was hacked during 8 months between 2018 and 2019. Since the breach was revealed, 21 companies have come forward to report that their data was compromised, and the data of 24.4 million people is believed to have been affected. Data that has been compromised includes medical information and social security numbers.
lthough maintaining HIPAA compliance doesn’t guarantee you’ll be immune to cyber attacks, it will still ensure that your data is protected with at least the standard amount of security, and you’ll protect yourself from the legal and business consequences of noncompliance.
Consequences of Not Being HIPAA Compliant
The minimum fine for knowingly violating HIPAA rules stands at $50,000, while the maximum penalty is $250,000. On top of this, if your organization is found to be noncompliant with HIPAA, you may also be required to pay restitution to the victims. And in some extreme cases, jail time could even be sentenced.
Who Should Get a HIPAA Assessment?
If your business is in the healthcare industry or manages protected health information related to the industry, you’re required by law to comply with HIPAA. It is important to note that this includes not only hospitals and pharmacies, but also lawyers, billing companies, and even shredding companies who do business with a healthcare organization.
If it has been over a year since you’ve had your last assessment done or if you have implemented any new technology, it’s recommended to get another assessment done. You also should get an assessment done if you have changed the way that you handle patient records or if you are not sure if your current process is HIPAA compliant.
HIPAA is the best way for you to make sure that your business is protected and also protect your patients. It makes sure that everyone’s data is safe and that you are securing it properly.
How an Assessment Will Help Your Business
A HIPAA assessment will be able to identify any areas of current non-compliance. If you continue to work with a Managed Service Provider, they can also help you to create a plan and update your systems to be completely compliant, as well as put in place other security measures.
As achieving HIPAA compliance requires a lot of in-depth knowledge about specific laws, working with a trusted IT company on your compliance will help you to meet all the requirements. This can help you be confident in your status without impeding regular operations.
Receiving a HIPAA assessment from a trusted Managed Service Provider will give you peace of mind knowing that you are operating legally and protecting your clients’ private, protected information. Contact us today to set up a HIPAA or risk assessment, and to learn more about how we can help protect your data.