Individuals can choose and limit access to specific health information under the HIPAA Privacy Rule, which also controls the use and sharing of personally identifiable health information. On April 14, 2003, the HIPAA privacy regulations came into force. For non-compliance, there are severe civil and criminal sanctions.

The volume and tenacity of cyberattacks have expanded in recent years, making it more difficult to maintain patient privacy and secure sensitive data under HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act). Numerous sensitive data sets, including credit card numbers and login credentials, are frequently stored in healthcare institutions, which cybercriminals try to profit from and sell on the dark web.

  1. What is PHI?

Protected Health Information leaks are subject to penalties (PHI). Any information that identifies a person and relates to at least one of the following is considered PHI/ePHI.

  • The person’s physical or mental health in the past, present, or in the future
  • The giving of medical care to a person
  • The financing of healthcare in the past, present, and future
  1. Everyone has a responsibility for security.

PHI/ePHI must be protected by everyone involved with the healthcare ecosystem, including staff members, executives, clinicians, and supply chain partners. Healthcare privacy and security are also the responsibility of businesses in the healthcare ecosystem, including lawyers, data service providers, billing agents, and managed security service providers (MSSPs).

  1. Insider dangers are a significant issue.

According to the 2019 Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report, healthcare is the only sector where internal dangers outweigh external ones. An insider threat is a risk to the organization that arises from current and former workers, contractors, and partners in the supply chain. These insider threats are regarded as some of the most difficult to detect and manage since insiders frequently have access to sensitive data, firsthand knowledge of computer systems, and knowledge of potential security flaws.

  1. A SIEM can make HIPAA compliance easier.

HIPAA compliance doesn’t have to be challenging or time-consuming. System logs are mixed in with millions of other routine audit records, but they do give proof of aberrant activity. A Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) solution centralizes the gathering, real-time evaluation, and archiving of data that can identify and locate sophisticated threats.

  1. Non-compliance might result in significant costs.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Office for Civil Rights (OCR) levied 11 fines for HIPPA violations totaling more than $23 million in 2018. Both data breaches and the absence of the necessary Business Agreements (BAs) with supply chain partners were penalized. For small and medium-sized healthcare providers or related enterprises, the average penalties of $500,000 is a significant sum. Along with the financial costs, other effects include decreased internal productivity, bad press, and a drop in patient loyalty.

  1. Technology, procedures, and people are needed for HIPAA compliance.

Understanding the particular risks that a company faces and how to mitigate them is the first step in adhering to HIPAA regulations.

To evaluate the threats particular to the healthcare sector, a comprehensive methodology is required. In addition to security technology, monitoring network systems and generating actionable information on normal events and suspicious activity deserving of further inquiry require human skills and protocols.

  1. Compliance is where it all begins.

HIPAA compliance is still your starting point even if it can be challenging and requires time and preparation to implement. Cybersecurity and data privacy procedures must continue to evolve along with threat actors. Modern technologies and procedures for threat mitigation are required.

Beyond simply ticking the box for compliance, there are risks to PHI and the covered entity. Expectations for adopting HIPAA’s reasonable controls will grow as risks to privacy and security change and intensify. Being one step ahead is the best strategy to handle changing expectations. Need help with HIPAA compliance? Contact us today to learn more.