HIPAA Compliance Shouldn’t Require a Doctorate

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) went into effect as part of the Social Security Act of 1996 in order to protect health care coverage for individuals who have lost or changed their jobs, and to ensure security of electronic transfers of electronic protected health information (ePHI). Hospitals, private practices, dental offices, clinics, pharmacies, health plans, healthcare clearinghouses, and any other covered entity or person handling ePHI have all had to work earnestly to achieve and maintain compliance with the extensive set of strict requirements associated with HIPAA. In a time of increasingly costly and frequent data breaches, it is more important than ever to provide assurances when it comes to protecting vendor data and patient ePHI.

The 5 Main HIPAA Rules to Understand

1. Privacy Rule

The privacy rule protects the ePHI and medical records of individuals by setting limits and conditions on the various uses and disclosures that can and cannot be made without patient authorization.

2. Security Rule

The security rule defines and regulates the standards, methods, and procedures related to the protection of ePHI with regard to storage, accessibility, and transmission. The 3 safeguard levels of security are broken into administrative, technical, and physical.

3. Transaction Rule

HIPAA does not require physicians to conduct transactions electronically, but if a physician practice does conduct any the transactions named under HIPAA, the organization must submit the transactions according to the HIPAA standards. The transaction codes ensure safety, accuracy, and security of medical records or ePHI.

4. Identifiers Rule

HIPAA uses three unique identifiers for covered entities conducting HIPAA-regulated administrative and financial transactions. These identifiers are the National Provider Identifier (NPI), National Health Plan Identifier (NHI), and the Standard Unique Employer Identifier Number (EIN).

5. Enforcement Rule

The Enforcement Rule expands the rules and establishes criminal and civil penalties for any violations of privacy and security required by HIPAA. Covered entities and their business associates must enforce rules for the application of security and privacy requirements, accounting disclosure requirements, sales and marketing restrictions, accounting disclosure requirements, and the enforcement of all security requirements across business associates’ contracts as well.

These rules are a lot to digest. HIPAA compliance is important and required for any covered organization, but with all the hustle and bustle of a modern health care organization, meeting these requirements frequently becomes a check-box exercise, leaving your organization and patient data vulnerable to breaches. Not only will this result in fines and legal consequences, but also lasting reputational damage if and when a vulnerability is exposed. The bottom line: making HIPAA compliance a priority is essential. The twist: HIPAA compliance does not have to cost you an arm and a leg.

At Qmulos we Pride ourselves on that promise.

As a native Splunk powered solution, Q-Compliance solves this problem by applying a compliance lens to near real-time data being ingested across your enterprise and assessing it against the HIPAA security controls. Q-Compliance contextualizes the log data ingested through Splunk into a HIPAA compliance lens, making compliance easy for anyone to prove. No longer does  a  team  need  to  manually collect technical evidence from various data sources, spend fortunes on audits, or spend hours sifting through static spreadsheets.

Q-Compliance is purpose-built to help you streamline and automate complex cybersecurity auditing and compliance requirements like HIPAA, NIST 800-53, SOX, PCI DSS, and many others. By selecting one of Qmulos’ HIPAA dashboards (Administrative, Physical, Technical, or Policies and Procedures and Documentation Requirements) the user can track how an organization and its systems are scoring against each of the control categories, and where it needs to improve. The dashboards provide an ability to quickly drill into specific domains to view compliance against the capabilities, practices and processes set forth, and also drill into individual controls to see the specific systems, events, and assets that are non-compliant.

Q-Compliance gives the user the ability to upload policies, procedures and file evidence, as well as automatically log human activity. The software keeps evidence needed for audits all in one place, making things more organized and efficient. Q-Compliance also aligns specific security controls with the HIPAA policies and procedures to use real- time log and event data from Splunk to help you automate the assessment and scoring of your organization’s practices against HIPAA. Qmulos codified industry best practices into the application workflows, enabling your organization to institutionalize and optimize the processes that improve your cyber posture and protect you and your client’s ePHI.

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