Risk Analysis and Management of HIPAA Security Rules

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) needs the secretary of the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to frame the rules and regulations which protect the health and medical data which is crucial and which needs to be secured and protected.  

To frame and develop such rules and regulations for the privacy and security of medical data the HHS came up with HIPAA privacy rule and security rule. 

The privacy rule helps in establishing the national standards for the protection of certain health information and even it establishes the national standards for protecting the health information at a certain level which has been held and transferred in the electronic forms. 

The security rules even operationalizes the security and protections which are covered under the Privacy Rule and this occurs when it gets addressed by the technical and non-technical safeguards that organizations also called as covered entities which needs to be put in place to protect the individuals. 

Within HHS, the office for civil rights holds the responsibilities for protecting and enforcing Privacy as well as Security Rules with some voluntary compliance activities and even some civil money penalties. 

Before HIPAA came into force, there were no specific rules and regulations which were framed just to maintain and manage the security and privacy of the healthcare information in the healthcare industry. 

On the other hand, major technologies kept on evolving and the health industry made a move away from all the paper processes and rely heavily on the use of electronic information systems to the pay claims, answering all the eligible questions, providing the health information and even conduct a host of all the other administrative as well as clinically based functions. 

The providers are using the clinical applications such as computerized physician order entry systems, electronic health records, radiology, pharmacy and much more. 

Health plans are granting access to all the claims and care management as well as member self-service applications. 

This means that the medical workforce can get more mobile and efficient where physicians can check the patient records and even the test results. 

The advancements in the adoption rate and these technologies even increases the potential security risks. 

The major motive of the security rule is to protect the privacy and security of the individual’s health information while making the allowances of the entities which are covered to adopt and make some new changes which helps in improving the quality and efficiency of the patient care. 

The healthcare marketplace is much more distinct, all the security rules are designed in such a manner that it can integrate policies,procedures and even technologies which are appropriate for the entire entity’s particular size, organizational structure and even risks to customers. 

Risk Analysis and Management

The administrative safeguards and its provisions in the security rule needs to be covered in the entities to perform risk analysis and as a part of their security management processes. 

The risk analysis as well as its management provisions of the security rule needs to be addressed in a separate way which helps in deciding the security measures which are reasonable and necessary for the particular covered entity and risk analysis which affects the implementation of all the safeguards which are restrained in the security rule. 

A risk analysis process must include though it is not limited but it has certain activities:

  • Evaluating the probability and the effects of the potential risks to e-PHI
  • Implementing the accurate security measures which helps in addressing the risks which are identified in the risk analysis. 
  • Documenting and framing the chosen measures which are required and needed to be rationalized for adopting the measures. 
  • Maintaining the continuous, reasonable and accurate security protections. 
  • Analyzing the risks should be a continuous process which gets covered in the entity regularly and which reviews its records and to keep a proper track access to ePHI and even it detects the security incidents. 

Administrative Safeguards

  1. Security management process

A complete firm can recognize and analyze the potential risks to e-PHI and it must be integrated in the security measures which helps in diminishing the risks, threats and vulnerabilities attached to it upto a reasonable and appropriate level. 

  1. Security personnel 

The firm must appoint a security official and the authority must be made which makes him responsible for developing and integrating the security policies and procedures.

  1. Information Access Management

Constant with the privacy rule standard limiting uses and disclosures of PHI to all the bottom line necessity and the security rule which needs a covered entity to integrate the policies and procedures for making an authorizing access to ePHI and only when access is made accurate on the basis of the user. 

  1. Workforce Training and Management

A firm must render accurate authorization and supervision of the members from the same workforce which works with ePHI. The firm also needs to train its members and apply the appropriate sanctions against all members of the workforce which violates policies and procedures.

  1. Evaluation

The complete entity must perform a periodic assessment of how well the security policies and procedures meet the needs of the security rule. 

Physical Safeguards

  1. Facility Access and Control

The firm must set certain limits for its facilities while making sure that sanctioning the access must be allowed.

  1. Workstation and Device Security

The entity should integrate the rules and regulations to set out proper use and access to all the workstations and electronic media. The covered entity must also be placed in contact with all the procedures with regards to its transfer, removal, disposal and re-use of electronic media which makes sure the protection of electronic protected health information. 

Concluding Lines

All the HIPAA laws are made in accordance with the requirements of healthcare users.

The healthcare industry must comply with all such measures as there is a huge risk involved when it comes to medical data and security of the patients as well as physicians. 

The HHS is the major player and all the thanks for framing such rules and regulations goes to this body.

With emergence and technological advancements the cyber crimes such as data theft and breach of trust have been increasing at a rapid rate and such laws can help in preventing the threats. 

About the Author 

Parth Patel is a serial entrepreneur and CEO of SyS Creations which is a top HIPAA compliance consulting provider. Operating the IT Infrastructure of SMEs and startups keeps him on his toes and his passion for helping others keeps him motivate

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