The Healthcare Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) is an initiative that aims to help Americans by protecting their important, confidential health information. The act was the first measure of industry-wide standards put into place to protect confidential health information. It’s purpose is to help patients by keeping their health records private and set boundaries on how health records can be used or shared. Under HIPAA, any business that utilizes or handles protected health information must be HIPAA compliant. This means that IT companies must take measures to be compliant with the act if they’re handling protected health information and data.
When the Healthcare Insurance Portability and Accountability act was put into place in 1996 under President Bill Clinton, its purpose was to give the American people the right to choose how their information is shared. The bill was the first of its kind, and created a universal, nationwide policy regarding how health information could be passed around and handled. The act also helps workers and their families regarding healthcare when they change or lose their jobs. It also regulates health and life insurance policies. Most importantly, it regulated who could access private health information and data.
Because of the nature of the Healthcare Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, anyone handling protected health information and data must comply with HIPAA. This includes any businesses, health insurance companies, databases and practitioners that handle patient information. Some of the patient information protected by HIPAA includes health records, diagnostic information, treatment information and other medical history. The patient has the freedom to choose who can disclose this information and when.
That means that IT companies that handle any private health information and data must also comply with the act to keep information private. This includes any company that handles information or data—even data storage or data processing. Many IT and data storage & processing companies have to go through great lengths to ensure that their businesses are HIPAA compliant. Local IT companies, such as Fortress, are working toward a more HIPAA compliant San Diego by creating systems that help both themselves and their clients to take proper precautions when dealing with sensitive information.
Some of the ways in which local IT companies can work to create a more HIPAA compliant San Diego is to develop things like access authorization and log-in monitoring to make sure that only the people that are supposed to be logging into healthcare databases are able to. It’s also important to have proper data recovery plans in the event of a disaster. This way, important health information won’t be lost in the event of an emergency. Healthcare-related IT should also include automatic log-off for accounts that haven’t been in use for more than a few minutes. All data should also be properly encrypted and decrypted.
These are just a couple of the many ways in which IT companies can work toward creating a more HIPAA compliant San Diego. Any IT company that uses external databases to store their information must also make sure that those databases are compliant too. Proper firewalls and encryption must be put into place to make sure that these external databases can’t be infiltrated or damaged. In the same sense that an IT company would need to provide recovery systems for onsite systems, they should make sure that remote storage facilities are the same.
Working with healthcare information can be risky if businesses don’t take the proper measures in order to protect the information. HIPAA made great strides in protecting the information of individual patients, so businesses that don’t take proper precautions can risk losing licenses or being fined by the government. The only way to ensure that health records are being kept safe is to store them electronically with the proper encryption, security and backup systems. Small businesses like Fortress Computers are working hard to create a more HIPAA compliant San Diego. We’re doing this by taking the proper precautions to make sure that the healthcare providers we work with are protecting sensitive health information.