HIPAA Compliance Checklist: Learn the Requirements to Become HIPAA Compliant

Owing to the increasing number of healthcare security breaches, the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) imposes strict rules on companies dealing with protected health information (PHI) by using the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).

Failure to comply with the act results in substantial fines, criminal charges, and civil litigations. HIPAA covers the essential criteria of:

HIPAA Definition

HIPAA ComplianceIntroduced in 1996 by Bill Clinton, the HIPAA is a federal law that provides a set of rules and regulations to protect healthcare and medical data. It sets security standards for electronic healthcare billing, storing patients’ healthcare information, and handling medical data. It ensures that healthcare data is kept private at all costs.

The HIPAA also provides guidelines for notifying patients of a security breach and requires healthcare organizations to secure their infrastructure by handling things at all technical levels.

Being aware of HIPAA compliance guidelines is essential to prevent huge fines, disciplinary action, and/or penalties. Ignorance of HIPAA regulations is not considered a justifiable defense by the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) of the US Department of Health and Human Services.

HIPAA Compliance Terminology

Covered entities and business associates should follow HIPAA guidelines to protect and secure Protected Health Information (PHI). In other words, if you are a covered entity or a business associate, you must be HIPAA compliant. Before understanding if your company is HIPAA compliant, it is necessary to evaluate some technical terminology associated with the HIPAA.

Protected Health Information (PHI) HIPAA intends to protect and safeguard the basic healthcare data of every individual.
Covered Entity Any healthcare field or entity that accesses PHI. Covered entities can be medical providers, clearinghouses, health insurers or employer-sponsored health plans.
Business Associates Individuals who work with covered entities in a non-healthcare capacity, i.e., people that maintain the PHI stored by covered entities.

Rules and Components of HIPAA

It is also helpful to understand the rules and components of HIPAA. After all, you can’t comply with something you are unfamiliar with.

Privacy Rule

The privacy rule regulates the disclosure and use of PHI by covered entities. These entities can disclose PHI to law enforcement to facilitate treatment or other cases if written authorization is received. When PHI is disclosed, covered entities must make sure that only the minimum necessary information is released and notify individuals of their PHI disclosure.

Security Rule

Complementing the privacy rule, the security rule pertains only to electronic PHI. It lays out administrative, physical, and technical safeguards. Administrative safeguards include policies and procedures that show how the entity complies with the act, while physical safeguards control the physical access to protected data. On the other hand, technical safeguards control access to computer systems that contain PHI.

Enforcement Rule

The enforcement rule sets the financial penalties for violating HIPAA rules and establishes the procedure for hearings of HIPAA-related violations. It states that covered entities must apply corrective measures if noncompliance is established. Noncompliance can be established if there is:

Omnibus Rule

A new addition to the HIPAA guidelines, the HIPAA Omnibus Rule expands the definition of business associates to include storage companies, consultants, and subcontractors, and it has also increased the civil penalties for HIPAA violators.

Breach Notification

The HIPAA Breach Notification regulates how a breach notification must be issued if a breach occurs. If more than 500 PHI records are affected, you must notify HHS and OCR, and all minor violations (less than 500 records) must be reported to HHS once a year.

HIPAA Compliance Checklist

HIPAA’s needs and demands have changed over time with advancements in technology. HIPAA has been updated multiple times, with more rules added over the years because of the constant rise in security breaches in the healthcare industry. Noncompliance can result in fines varying from $100 to as high as $1.5 million per year.

To be compliant with the different rules of the HIPAA, consider the following checklists for each of the aforementioned rules.

Compliance checklist for the HIPAA Privacy Rule

Compliance checklist for the HIPAA Security Rule

Technical Safeguards

Physical Safeguards

Administrative Safeguards

Compliance checklist for the HIPAA Enforcement Rule

Compliance checklist for the HIPAA Omnibus Rule

Compliance checklist for the HIPAA Breach Notification Rule

– Notify the Department of Health and Human Services.

– Issue a press release about the breach.

– Provide OCR with the list of PHI and the explanation of how the violation occurred.

– Provide OCR with the list of all unauthorized entities that access the PHI. Also, indicate if the PHI was accessed or was just available.

– Provide OCR with the mitigation steps that were undertaken to deal with the breach.

Generic HIPAA Compliance Checklist

Apart from the above-mentioned checklists, a generic HIPAA compliance checklist (a compliance checklist for individual rules) ensures that you stay on top of the game. To make certain that your organization is compliant:

Parallels RAS Helps Organizations Requiring HIPAA Compliance

ParallelsĀ® Remote Application Server (RAS) is a virtual desktop and application delivery solution that enables healthcare providers to create their own secure, private cloud. It is a perfect solution for healthcare providers who need to maintain a HIPAA-compliant infrastructure.

Parallels RAS improves your healthcare infrastructure by improving accessibility, security, and mobility. It also allows for single-pane-of-glass management and auto-provisioning, and auto-scaling.

Improving accessibility

Parallels RAS provides secure access to desktops, applications, and patient data from any device, at any time, from any location, improving PHI accessibility to clinicians. Full redundancy offered by load balancing ensures that downtime is reduced while providing a seamless end-user experience.

Enhancing security

With the use of Parallels RAS, you can provide medical staff with compliant, secure, on-the-go access to PHI. Security measures such as multifactor authentication, customized policies, and advanced filtering are implemented to comply with the HIPAA Security Rule. Since all the data is stored centrally, monitoring the data is easier, thus making it possible to conform to HIPAA and other medical guidelines.

Enabling mobility

Be it a mobile device, Chromebook, MacBook, or Windows desktop, Parallels RAS allows every endpoint to access healthcare and diagnostic desktop applications easily. Therefore medical staff can respond to emergencies quickly by receiving real-time updates and alerts on the go.

Single pane of glass

Medical administrators can manage the entire infrastructure from a centralized console. This ensures that monitoring resources, managing connected devices, defining security policies, and providing helpdesk assistance are straightforward.

Auto-provisioning and auto-scaling

Medical IT infrastructure can be scaled up or down automatically as Parallels RAS creates, releases, removes and load balances Windows Servers based on predefined criteria.

Parallels RAS has all the features necessary to comply with the HIPAA Privacy, Security, Enforcement, Omnibus, and Breach Notification Rules, making it a must-have for your medical organization.

Download the 30-day trial of Parallels RAS today!