Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) was formed in 1996 to protect mainly the patient’s health, among other things. These rules apply to business associates and covered entities. A business associate is a person who/entity which, performs functions involving the use of protected health information for a covered entity. Examples may include attorneys, IT providers or Laboratories.
A covered entity, on the other hand, is a health care provider able to electronically transmit health information. They include dentists, pharmacies, doctors, health insurance companies or corporations that handle health plans.
HIPAA Privacy Rule gives patients federal protection of their health information. It addresses sharing, saving and accessing of protected health information of any individual, in case it is needed for any purpose including patient care. This rule applies to all health care providers including those who do not use Electronic Health Record systems. You should research the requirements for HIPAA compliant messaging. HIPAA Security Rule sets national standards which require the covered entities, subcontractors or their associates to safeguard electronic protected health information received, created, maintained or even transmitted electronically.
Challenges faced by medical organisation’s due to HIPAA compliance with modern technology.
We live in an era of improved technology which we believe makes our lives easier. Many patients and health information providers use personal devices like computers and mobile phones (ipods, iPhones and android devices), to access data. These devices are insecure, and it ‘s hard to control its privacy because they use instant messaging or the internet, which can be accessed by hackers. They can easily make the private information public, with just a click, hence making the whole compliance a problem.
Fax machines became inefficient immediately people started using emails and other web-based communication methods. Physicians may find difficulty in avoiding the utilization of these modern methods because they have to be HIPAA compliant. They find themselves using fax to share patient’s health information due to concerns about security and privacy of the information. This is a drawback as it is expected that modern ways should be adopted to increase efficiency. Patients who need their own copies of test results or medical records have to pick them at the hospital or still use the slow snail mail. Sometimes in –person delivery methods can be used which consume a lot of time and are more costly especially if the deliveries to be made are many. Doctors feel these outdated methods are more secure in terms of sharing health information. Even the SSL (HTTPS) connection regarded as secure for emails isn’t HIPAA compliant.
Managing digital data in healthcare organizations can be a struggle. This is because they will need to be accessible immediately they are required. Coming up with the right security measure that will enable data accessibility in real time may be a challenge. This is because they have to adhere to the HIPAA. Disaster recovery, data backup and an emergency operation planning are required by the act. However, the act does not specify the kind of plans which should be put in place.
Data liberation lacks because if new innovations surface so much has to be looked into. This means that the change cannot just be implemented until its potential is cross-checked against the Act. This may eventually hinder growth or diminish the technology investment return if it is not fully utilized.
Health organizations are required by the government to have proper IT systems which coordinate with health insurance exchanges and are HIPAA compliant. Energy costs also affect the operation because they increase pressure on providers. With all these challenges, healthcare providers have to come up with a way of how to handle their critical and required IT infrastructure.
If the parties concerned with the health care industry had collaborated to standardize data, HIPAA would not be needed at all, and the industry would have saved a lot of resources especially money. All this was caused by the lack of coordination in the health care industry.