HIPAA stands for Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act and this was brought by Congress in 1996. At first, when this act was introduced, the purpose of it was to improve the efficiency of the healthcare system and protection of patient’s data. Its purpose was to ensure that employees would continue to receive health insurance coverage when they were between jobs. Since HIPAA has been introduced, many health care agencies find it difficult to understand HIPAA compliance. To make this compliance easy to understand we have broken down into more manageable basics and steps. We have stated these steps below:-
- Understanding Patient Privacy
Patient’s privacy is very important and there is an act called Privacy rule which is a major part of the Act’s requirements. The Privacy Rule extends to all covered entities and business associates, and provides the individuals the right to access their health information. This rule also asks health care agencies to protect, secure and keep the health care data confidential.
- Knowing the Required Mandates
To comply with HIPAA compliance organizations must know all the required mandates. Below is the list of HIPAA’s required mandates that you should be aware of:
- The Unique Identifiers Rule gives practices a specific numerical code to additionally improve efficiency. This is also known as the National Provider Identifier (NPI).
- The Privacy Rule pertains to PHI and all the health care data of the individual must be kept safe, secure and confidential. Even the individual or patient must know how their PHI is being used.
- The Omnibus Rule updates HIPAA to include the directive that all “business associates” must be compliant as well.
- Transaction and Code Set Rules in HIPAA compliance states that all health care agencies and organizations must do electronic transactions for billing etc.
- If any agency or organization fails to comply with HIPAA then they will be fined with heavy penalties under The Enforcement Rule.
- Other rules and regulations lay out the guidelines and enforcements for tax-related health provisions.
- Understanding Security And Privacy On Electronic Health Records
The HITECH Act of 2009 (part of ARRA) and the subsequent Omnibus Rule of 2013 are meant to ensure security and privacy with the use of EHRs.
EHRs lay out many codes and guidelines about privacy and security. These privacy and security rules need agencies to set up the physical, administrative, and technical safeguards to protect electronic PHI. Some of these safety measures are:-
- Health care information and data must be protected with passwords and PIN number.
- Encryption of the stored data cannot be accessed except by someone who can “decrypt” with a code known only to specific individuals.
Any agency or organization that fails to comply with HIPAA compliance is fined with heavy penalties and fines. So it is good for all the health care organizations to better understand and comply with HIPAA compliance.