Since the introduction of HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) in 1996, all healthcare practices have been obliged to take ongoing action to protect their patients’ data. HIPAA assessments can help you to ensure that your practice meets all the requirements of the act. As there are heavy penalties for HIPAA non-compliance, it is a very good idea to get a HIPAA assessment for your practice every year to be sure that you are doing everything necessary to keep your patients’ data safe.
HIPAA explicitly states that businesses must perform regular IT risk assessments to find out how safe their data is. The HIPAA Security Rule also requires organizations to “implement policies and procedures to prevent, detect, contain, and correct security violations.”
To meet this requirement, businesses must first identify the electronic personal health information (e-PHI) that they handle, transmit, create, or store within their organization. You also need to identify external sources of e-PHI that are created, received, transmitted, or maintained by your vendors and consultants.
Once you have identified all the e-PHI that your healthcare business handles, you need to work out what threats could affect that e-PHI and the systems that contain it. For many businesses, this assessment is the most difficult part of the HIPAA IT risk assessment process.
For the majority of healthcare practices, the easiest, most straightforward and most reliable way to carry out a HIPAA IT risk assessment is to work with a managed IT company. This is an excellent way to ensure that your organization meets all HIPAA compliance requirements, as it allows you to get access to all the experts, tools, and specialist knowledge needed to carry out a thorough assessment.
During the first stage of a HIPAA assessment, a managed IT service company will carry out a gap analysis. This is a process that involves working out how well your healthcare practice currently complies with HIPAA. As a result of the gap analysis, your managed IT service provider will prepare a document that shows exactly where and how you need to improve your e-PHI systems and policies.
After the gap analysis, the next step in achieving HIPAA compliance is remediation. This step is the opportunity for you or your managed IT service provider to take action to bring your healthcare practice into compliance.
Many healthcare practices find the remediation step very difficult to manage on their own, as they do not have the expert IT staff in house to put new policies in place. The easiest way to carry out remediation successfully is to work with a managed IT service. Experienced IT companies such as adNET have the expertise necessary to find the best solutions for your healthcare practice.
Your healthcare practice needs to get a security assessment every year to mitigate all the IT risks that face a modern healthcare business that handles e-PHI. Yearly HIPAA assessments allow your practice to stay ahead of any problems that can occur. It is important to remember that new cyber security threats are emerging all the time, which means that putting in place robust security procedures can never be a one-time set and forget process.
To ensure you remember to get the security assessment that your healthcare practice needs every year, it is a good idea to establish an ongoing relationship with a managed IT service provider. Look for a managed IT company that specializes in providing IT services for the healthcare industry to ensure you get the expertise you need for your practice’s annual assessment. You can rely on this kind of managed IT service provider to always stay up to date with the latest generation of cyber security threats and take action to protect your practice.
A strong relationship with a Managed IT Company in Chicago that specializes in IT Services for Healthcare and Medical Office in Chicago can help your healthcare practice to achieve and maintain HIPAA compliance over the long term. If you are looking for a managed IT company that your healthcare practice can rely on, get in touch today with AdNET to find out how we can help.
At AdNET, our IT support teams have the necessary expertise, experience, and tools to allow us to carry out a thorough gap analysis and mediation on behalf of your healthcare practice as part of our Managed IT Services. We are well-versed in all the threats that challenge healthcare practices, as well as in the wide variety of tools and technologies that can help healthcare providers to tackle them.
Once we have brought your healthcare practice into HIPAA compliance, we will continue to monitor your systems to identify threats to your patient e-PHI data. In this way, we give you peace of mind, as you will know that your systems remain safe and secure, in line with HIPAA regulations.