How to be or become HIPAA compliant.
HIPAA, or the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, is a set of rules and regulations designed to protect the privacy and security of patients’ personal and medical information. If your business has healthcare data, it’s important that you understand HIPAA compliance. These are the steps you need to take to become HIPAA compliant:
- Understand the HIPAA Rules
The first step to understand HIPAA rules. HIPAA consists of five different titles, each of which addresses a specific aspect of privacy and security. The most relevant titles for HIPAA compliance are Title II (which covers the security and privacy of healthcare information) and Title IV (which covers the administrative requirements for HIPAA compliance).
- Build out a HIPAA Control Framework
OpsEase has a preconfirgured template of HIPAA controls to get you started. These controls outline many of the policies, procedures and steps required to be compliant.
- Conduct a HIPAA Risk Assessment
- Once you understand the HIPAA rules and have assembled your controls, the next step is to conduct a HIPAA risk assessment.
An auditor can assist with this. OpsEase has a set of partners that can engage to help if needed. A risk assessment is a review of your policies, controls, procedures, and practices to identify any potential vulnerabilities or weaknesses.
To conduct a HIPAA risk assessment, you’ll need to:
- Identify all the places where personal and medical information is stored, accessed, and transmitted. This includes electronic systems, such as electronic health records (EHRs), as well as paper records.
- Determine how personal and medical information is currently being protected within your organization. This includes things like access controls, password policies, and physical security measures.
- Identify any potential vulnerabilities or weaknesses in your current policies and procedures, such as lack of encryption, weak passwords, or insufficient access controls.
- The items above will all be topics/requirements within the HIPAA controls that need to be reviewed for identifying HIPAA gaps.
Develop a HIPAA Compliance Plan
Based on your HIPAA risk assessment, you need to build a GAP/remediation analysis and develop a compliance plan. A HIPAA compliance plan outlines the specific steps you’ll need to take to address any vulnerabilities or weaknesses identified during the risk assessment and ensure that your organization is HIPAA compliant.
Your HIPAA compliance plan should include:
- Policies and procedures for protecting personal and medical information. This should include things like access controls, password policies, and physical security measures.
- Controls that need to be implemented and frequency of control review with appropriate attestation set. This is where workflow, an approval process, and automation becomes really advantageous.
- Training for your employees on HIPAA requirements and best practices for protecting personal and medical information.
- Setup regular reviews of your controls framework, incidents and evidence.
Implement Your HIPAA Compliance Plan
Once you’ve developed your HIPAA compliance plan, the next step is to implement it. This may involve making changes to your current policies and procedures, as well as training your employees on HIPAA requirements and best practices.
Regularly Review Your HIPAA Compliance Plan
HIPAA compliance is not a one-time event but an ongoing process. You need to regularly review your controls and attestation to ensure you remain compliant. This may involve conducting additional risk assessments, updating your policies and procedures, or providing additional training.
Be Prepared for a HIPAA Audit
HIPAA audits are conducted by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to ensure that covered entities are complying with HIPAA requirements. If your organization is selected for a HIPAA audit, it’s important to be prepared. OpsEase can make audits a breeze.
OpsEase is a control and attestation platform to build, upload, manage, automate, and track your control adherence. OpsEase Enterprise has a number of prebuilt templates to jumpstart your SOC 2 journey. Reach out to OpsEase for more information!