All Posts in Category: Policy and Procedure

okay to share hipaa

When It’s Okay To Share – HIPAA

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) is a federal law that sets rules about who can look at and receive an individual’s health information. “Covered entities” that must follow the HIPAA regulations include health plans, most healthcare providers, and healthcare clearinghouses. Business associates of covered entities also must follow parts of the HIPAA regulations.

“Business associates” are generally contractors, subcontractors, and other outside persons and companies that need to be able to access individual health records held by a covered entity to provide a service. Examples of business associates include:

  • Billing companies
  • Companies that help administer health plans
  • Lawyers, accountants, and IT specialists
  • Data management companies

These covered entities and business associates must follow HIPAA regulations or face heavy fines and other penalties. Generally, a covered entity cannot use or share an individual’s health information without written permission, unless the law allows for it.

Examples of when it;s okay to share HIPAA info/patient information without written consent include:

  • When the information is necessary to provide treatment.
  • When not disclosing it would interfere with a disaster relief organization’s ability to respond to an emergency.
  • As necessary to prevent or lessen a serious and imminent threat to the health and safety of a person or the public.
  • To relay information about a patient’s location in the facility and general condition.

Providers also may share patient information to the extent necessary to seek payment for services rendered.

Original Content by H.H.S.

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interoperability hurdles restrain acos

Interoperability Hurdles Restrain ACOs

For accountable care organizations, a lack of interoperability between their health information technology systems and those of providers outside their ACO is the No. 1 challenge they face, cited by 79% of respondents to a survey of 68 ACOs by group purchaser and performance-improvement company Premier and health IT collaborative eHealth Initiative.

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certified hipaa compliance

Quovant Certified HIPAA Compliance

Legal spend and matter management solutions provide focus on developing technology and delivering services to corporate legal departments, claims and risk departments in the US and Europe. Having a solution that is HIPAA Compliant is key to these departments. 

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Dangers of Unsecure Texting HIPAA

Minimizing Mobile Risks in Healthcare

Minimizing emerging threats to mobile devices and applications should be a top health data breach prevention priority for 2016!

“What we’re seeing from the new [threat] vector perspective is that a lot of mobile is coming to the spotlight,” says Bowen, chief privacy and security officer and founder of the security firm ClearDATA.

“We’ve seen this trend for the last few years where we can use a mobile device in an incredibly effective way to enable healthcare to deliver amazing patient care,” he says in an interview with Information Security Media Group. “Some of the greatest innovations happen that way. Unfortunately, at times, the mobile device has been enabled with great software that doesn’t necessarily consider the entire ecosystem from a hardening perspective.”

The only way to stay ahead of emerging threats is to “employ a security-first strategy, make sure you’re doing vendor diligence, and make sure you’re implementing a defense-in-depth strategy that considers every layer of security,” he says.

For instance, healthcare organizations need to realize that mobile software may be storing logs that could contain personally identifiable information for a patient. Also, “you may be incorporating data flows from inside and outside that application that may not be hardened,” he notes.

Additionally, mobile data is at risk “because people are still lugging laptops around without encryption,” he notes.

In fact, about one-third of incidents listed on the Department of Health and Human Services “wall of shame” website of major health data breaches affecting 500 or more individuals since September 2009 involve unencrypted lost or stolen laptops or other portable electronic devices.

It’s also important to vet technology suppliers, he stresses. “We see new entrants into the healthcare market – and sometimes that’s a great thing, and other times it’s shocking how lax the security can be, even from security vendors who really claim to embrace a security-in-depth strategy.”

Other Threats

In developing strategies to fight against hacker attacks, which were pervasive in 2015, organizations need to take steps to make sure social engineering tactics fail, he says. “Hackers are really going after the easiest targets first,” he points out. “It’s not about stealing a database of credentials. It’s more about stealing credentials one phishing email or keystroke logger at a time.”

In the interview, Bowen also discusses:

  • Other security weaknesses that make healthcare organization easy targets for cyberattacks, and what those entities can do to bolster security;
  • How healthcare entities can better prevent and detect breaches involving insiders, including members of their workforce as well as business associates;
  • Three lessons that can be learned from the top healthcare breaches in 2015.

Bowen is the chief privacy and security officer and founder of security firm ClearDATA. He manages the risks and business impacts faced by global healthcare organizations, with a specific focus on cyberthreats, privacy violations, security incidents, social engineering attempts and data breaches. Bowen is a Certified Information Privacy Professional,Certified Information Privacy Technologist and Certified Information Systems Security Professional.

Full interview here

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3 Things to consider before migrating to the Cloud

Cloud computing grows more popular by the day, and it continues to show its value to the healthcare industry. Being able to dynamically access content while online is a great asset. But, of course, this doesn’t come without taking some risks and gambling your data’s security. Thankfully, there are some ways in which you can tip the odds in your favor.

To help you successfully leverage your technology to meet the needs of your organization without compromising your data’s security, we’ve assembled three common risks that are typically associated with Cloud solutions, and how to successfully avoid them.

Number 1: Data Theft
The most obvious risk to your organization’s data, and any information that’s stored online, is data theft, and other types of hacks that could compromise or even corrupt your mission-critical information. No matter how small or large your organization is, it’s a target for hackers and threats of all kinds, especially in the online environment.

It’s important that you understand that there’s no way to ensure that your practice’s data is 100 percent protected from all types of threats found on the Internet. It’s just not feasible. As long as your organization’s data is stored in an online environment, there’s always going to be a possibility (no matter how slim) that a hacker will get their hands on your data. What you can do, however, is optimize your network and Cloud security to ensure that this possibility is minimal at best. To find out more information about online data security, contact CAM and ask us about our comprehensive security solutions for the online environment.

Number 2: Compliance Violation
Many organizations in specific industries are subject to compliance laws pertaining to the storage and sharing of sensitive information. Due to the nature of cloud storage, using it to store sensitive information in an online environment can have unexpected complications. For example, if this information were to be compromised, what would you do? Depending on the situation, you will be required to inform the victim of the breach, and/or be subject to a costly fine.

Naturally, it’s your responsibility to ensure that your systems are meeting the compliance standards set by your industry. Depending on what type of orperation you run, there are specific criteria that must be met for any kind of sensitive information stored online. Chances are that if your organization collects this information, you’re subject to compliance laws that are often convoluted and difficult to understand. CAM HIPAA Solutions can help make this easier.

Number 3: Immense Downtime
If your practice only stores information in the Cloud, what would happen if that information were suddenly unavailable due to downtime? Hosting your data in the Cloud demands that you need an Internet connection; if this is lost, you’ll be staring downtime in the eyes. This, in essence, is major roadblock that can set your organization behind schedule, break your operations budget, and overall, become quite a nuisance.

This is the reason why you want your information stored in multiple locations; you should be able to access your organization’s data and mission-critical applications from both online and offline systems. This minimizes downtime and improves mobility, which is invaluable for remote workers.

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phi in the cloud

PHI in the Cloud: HIPAA Challenges for Telemedicine Providers

Both telemedicine providers and technology companies that serve the telehealth industry face some unique and sometimes complicated challenges dealing with HIPAA, especially as it relates to the storage, transmission, and use of Protected Health Information (“PHI”). With the recent explosion of tech-savvy communication methods and cloud storage capabilities, telemedicine, while often saving patients and doctors time and reducing overall healthcare costs, also presents ever-expanding risks that may lead to violations of patients’ privacy rights under HIPAA.

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