HIPAA Security Guidelines: Understanding and Complying with the Requirements

A covered entity that creates, receives, uses, or maintains electronic personal health information about people must adhere to HIPAA  security guidelines set forth under the HIPAA Security Rule.

In order to guarantee the confidentiality, integrity, and security of electronically protected health information, the Security Rule mandates the use of the proper administrative, physical, and technical protections.

HIPAA Compliance Explained

The HIPAA initiative developed guidelines and standards for handling and storing private patient data. To stay HIPPA compliant and avoid fines, organizations that manage protected health information (PHI) are required to adhere to a strict set of regulations and security procedures.

Covered entities or business partners are terms used to describe those who must comply with HIPAA regulations.

The healthcare industry’s covered entities are those who render medical services, take payments, or carry out clinical procedures.

Business associates are supporting organizations that have access to ePHI or provide assistance with operations, payment, or treatment.

Private businesses, contractors, and government organizations managing PHI must adhere to HIPAA compliance requirements.

The HHS is responsible for establishing the HIPAA regulations, while the OCR is responsible for enforcing them.

What Specific HIPAA Security Requirements Does the Security Rule Dictate?

The Security Rule mandates that organizations conduct a security needs analysis and implement HIPAA-compliant, suitable security measures.

The Security Rule gives businesses some discretion to choose the security measures that will work the best for them because it does not specify which exact HIPAA security criteria or procedures must be employed by a given organization of a specific size.

The Security Rule does mandate that businesses take the following factors into account when putting in place security measures:

Their size, complexity, and capabilities;

their technological infrastructure, including their hardware and software;

the expense of security precautions;

and the likelihood and potential consequences of any potential risks to ePHI.

The Security Rule also mandates that covered institutions “don’t sit still” and constantly examine and improve their security protocols to guarantee that ePHI is safeguarded at all times.

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