5 Steps to HIPAA Compliance for Phoenix Doctors to Take Now
Most medical records and Protected Health Information (PHI) are now created, managed and stored electronically. Because of this, greater Phoenix-area medical practices need to ensure their computer equipment, software and technology processes are secure enough to meet stringent Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) standards as well as Arizona Medical Records Laws.
The outlook for 2018 indicates that, while the Trump Administration is cutting the budget for HIPAA and other Office of Civil Rights (OCR) programs, enforcement will actually be focused on large, blatant HIPAA violations directly related to cybersecurity, ransomware and physical security. AKA they’re looking for a big fish to fry. To lessen the impact of their budget cuts, it appears OCR plans to increase enforcement settlement fines which means it’s now more important than ever to be vigilant about HIPAA compliance.
Make sure your practice is protected in 2018 –
5 steps you can take now to bolster your medical practice’s HIPAA compliance
- Protect from disasters of all kinds
Disaster comes in many forms – from hurricanes and electrical outages to an employee spilling a soda on a keyboard. Put a backup and business continuity plan into place so you will be able to recover any lost data and continue to care for patients.
- Secure sensitive data
Write policies and procedures that focus on protecting patient information and other critical data. Data access should be on a need-to-know basis only. If certain employees or vendors only need specific information, restrict their access to information they don’t need. Set up strong password protection policies and user tracking processes.
- Manage your risk
Assess the current risk to your network and data then implement a plan to mitigate that risk. This will identify security threats such as unauthorized use of computers and potential network failures.
- Secure your network
Continuously maintain and monitor your network security with advanced security technology. The health industry falls second only to the finance industry as target for ransomware and other cyberattacks. This is because everyone needs medical providers and they store hackers’ favorite things: personal information and financial data.
- Employee education of PHI protection
Train your employees to protect patient information by disposing of patient records properly (both electronic and paper records), adhering to password protection protocols, never sending PHI over the Internet unencrypted, and logging off computers when not in use.
Your heavy reliance on technology to protect patient records can be simplified by bringing on a professional Managed Services Provider (MSP) to help you manage HIPAA compliance. itSynergy thoroughly analyzes your network for potential PHI risks and vulnerabilities. Take steps now to protect your patients: contact us at 602-297-2400 or online.