HIPAA stands for the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. It is designed to set a standard for sensitive data protection.
In other words, if you are a business that operates using any client/customer/patient database, you NEED to ensure that you understand HIPAA. It often relates specifically to companies with a database of contact details. The client list is what a company uses to keep track of potential leads so that they can reach out to them for marketing purposes. This is how you can generate new business and keep your business thriving even when there is a lull in new customers coming in.
Such a list has tremendous inherent value. So much so, that many entire industries operate around brokering this kind of information!
But that data is also personal and sensitive. If that data should fall into the wrong hands, then it could lead to unsolicited messages being sent to every person on the list. Moreover, that information could be used to bypass security questions and perhaps even commit identity fraud.
This is even more important in the healthcare industry. Here, the data you will be handling will very often be electronic Protected Health Information (ePHI). This sort of information is compassionate, and should it be revealed, and it could have substantial personal ramifications for that person – potentially putting their relationships and careers at risk.
This is a duty of care that goes beyond merely looking after those patients that are physically present: it means being responsible in every interaction you have with them.
For these reasons, it is your responsibility as a business to ensure HIPAA compliance and to do all you can to achieve it.
As one of the premier CRM solutions, MedicalCRM is designed to help you do precisely that.
What You Need to Know
HIPAA represents a rather large piece of national legislation, and it has a vast number of different rules, requirements, and provisos. This can be extremely lengthy to digest and understand, making HIPAA compliance something quite daunting for smaller businesses such as healthcare clinics.
Fortunately, there are ways we can break this down. In this post, we’re going to look at some of the most basic rules of HIPPA, such that you know what steps you need to take.
Moreover, keep in mind that MedicalCRM will automatically handle many of these points for you by default! Where it does not, it will provide you with the necessary prompts, tools, and information to handle those aspects yourself.
Read on, and we’ll take a look at some of the most critical steps you need to take to ensure HIPAA compliance.
The first and arguably most important thing you need to do is to create a privacy and security policy. This will ensure that whenever a potential customer or lead provides you with their details, they know precisely how that information is going to be used and what steps to take to ensure that it is looked after.
Consider Your Own Security
It would help if you also considered your own security policy. What steps and precautions have you put in place to keep the client’s data as safe as is reasonably possible?
There is never a guarantee that information can be safe. Hackers and cybercriminals will always find ways to breach your servers if they are dedicated enough.
However, by merely taking some standard precautions, you can significantly minimize the likelihood of these attempts being successful, while at the same time doing everything that you can be reasonably expected to do in order to look after your customers.
There are many ways in which you can improve your own security. You should make sure that you have all your software up to date with the latest security updates, for example. Likewise, you should make sure that you train your staff to understand security risks such as phishing attempts better. The human element is the weak link in a vast number of different security systems, and simple mistakes like connecting to public WiFi without a VPN can be devastating for your data security.
Keep your network secure, learn how to generate active passwords, run anti-virus software, and consider hiring a cybersecurity professional. They may run simulated attacks called penetration tests in order to ensure that your security is watertight. They will then provide a detailed report with information regarding the potential gaps and flaws in your current system.
Ultimately, the most important thing is that you have a way to verify that the person making the ePHI request is who they say they are and that they have access to that data.
One of the most essential steps involved in this, in fact, is to name a privacy and security officer. This is someone whose job it will be to oversee the security in your organization and to keep your data safe.
You should also think of the mobile policy. That means having specific rules for your mobile devices and how they will handle the use of private and sensitive information.
Have a Contingency
Another important rule is to make sure that you have a protocol for potential breaches. This might mean getting in touch with those people whose data was exposed, or it might mean finding ways to prevent further data leaks immediately.
More Crucial Safety Tips
There are other crucial measures you can take to ensure HIPAA compliance. For example, you should be independently audited against the OCR HIPAA Audit Protocol. This will ensure that an objective third party has checked your status against the HIPAA requirements and found that you meet them to a satisfying standard.
This is not only a great way to catch issues that you might miss yourself, but it is also something you can display and communicate to potential patients and customers in order to demonstrate that you are
It would help if you also thought about physical access control. In other words: just because your network is secure and you’re running the latest anti-malware, that doesn’t mean someone can’t walk into your building and simply download the data that they’re interested in! Having a means of controlling who has access to your building is highly essential, therefore. You should think about workspace use and the use of CCTV and other features.
Data backup is also critical. How are you going to make sure that you always have a copy of the information, even in the event of a fire or similar unexpected event? How will you ensure that any backup is equally secure and not vulnerable to data breaches?
Choosing the Right CRM
Of course, you also need to think about the CRM software that you are using. This is where the ePHI will be stored, and the best options – such as MedicalCRM – will automatically provide you with a number of security features.
MedicalCRM comes with built-in HIPPAA compliance for its internal chat platform and many other top features. MedicalCRM also undergoes regular inspections and tests to ensure that this security is maintained at all times.
(The internal chat feature of MedicalCRM is designed to help streamline the process of communicating with colleagues and staff. This can help you to save a significant amount of time by quickly reaching out to the precise team member you need and pulling up relevant information in your discussions.)
All medical information is protected by the fully HIPAA compliant security features of the CRM. But on top of that, the data is stored on Amazon’s highly secure AWS data storage solution. This was explicitly designed with HIPAA compliance in mind. Amazon is a large business with significant clout when it comes to implementing security features, so you can rest easy knowing that your client data is secure as humanly possible.
MedicalCRM also handles payment processing and does so in an extremely secure manner. MedicalCRM is PCI Level 1 compliant, which means it meets or exceeds the extremely stringent requirements that major credit cards set out. You can, therefore, rest assured that your client’s financial data will remain equally safe. And by communicating that to customers, you can ensure you do more business!
Find out more here.
This is something you should always consider when designing your business: how secure are the third party solutions that you rely on? You can do everything in your power to make sure your own house is in order, but if you rely on insecure software, or if you work with another organization that has less stringent security checks, then you can still introduce weak links.