Healthcare Software and HIPAA
With technological advancement and increased use of Digital Healthcare comes the need to protect customers' personal identities and healthcare information. HIPAA plays a major role in maintaining the privacy of such data and is widely deployed in healthcare software development.
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) is a civil law, that is developed to safeguard and secure personal healthcare information, that is shared among various entities for health benefits, applicable in the United States of America. HIPAA sets standards for the secure handling and storage of PHI, and healthcare software and solutions must comply with these standards to protect patient privacy and prevent potential financial and reputational harm from HIPAA violations.
Entities in HIPAA:
The following bodies are encompassed in the HIPAA:
- Covered entities, refer to the healthcare providers, health plans, and healthcare clearinghouses.
- Healthcare business associates who provide healthcare benefits and related services to the entities.
- Patients who are the receiver of healthcare services.
- Department of Health and Human Services - the government agency, that enforces HIPAA laws and regulations, on Healthcare Solutions.
- State Attorneys General, is entitled to take action on those entities that violate HIPAA.
The three security rules of HIPAA:
To ensure the healthcare software is compliant with HIPAA, the following three security rules are adopted:
- Administrative Safeguards: This rule ensures the formation of an administrative body to secure the ePHI.
- Physical Safeguards: This insists to protect the electronic information systems and related buildings and equipment.
- Technical Safeguards: This rule works on securing the technology in use, by assuring access controls, audit controls, transmission security, and encryption.
Of these three rules, it is essential to follow the Technical safeguard rule, while developing and implementing Healthcare Software.
Violations of the HIPAA rules:
- Here are a few conditions that are considered an act of violation of the HIPAA:
- The violation was caused as the user was not aware of violating the same.
- The violation has happened for a reasonable cause, and not due to willful neglect.
- The violation has happened due to willful neglect.
- The violation is caused by covered entities, in terms of sharing private information.
HIPAA in healthcare software development:
Healthcare software companies are obliged to have contracts in place with their business associates, such as healthcare CRMs, that outline their respective HIPAA obligations. Employees involved with PHI must be trained on HIPAA privacy and security requirements, and healthcare software must have procedures in place for responding to security incidents and reporting any breach of unsecured PHI.
Following HIPAA, digital healthcare solutions can help to protect the confidentiality and privacy of PHI, and ensure that patients receive the highest quality of care possible. This eventually promotes trust in the healthcare system. In a digital age where personal health information is increasingly being stored and shared electronically, HIPAA compliance is crucial to ensuring that patient’s personal and medical information is kept secure and confidential.
To conclude, HIPAA is an essential component of digital healthcare, providing the necessary protections for personal health information in the face of rapidly evolving technology. Whether you are a healthcare provider, a software company, or a patient, it is important to be aware of HIPAA and to ensure that all digital healthcare solutions are HIPAA-compliant to protect the privacy and security of personal health information.