All Posts Tagged: hipaa van nuys

Portrait of three uniformed doctors not being optimistic about the healthcare system. Check out these HIPAA Settlements.

“Two recent HIPAA settlements should remind health care industry to stay vigilant,” attorneys say

“Two recent HIPAA settlements should remind health care industry to stay vigilant,” attorneys say.

Health care providers need to be mindful of two recent major Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) settlements to avoid being similarly targeted, two industry attorneys say.

“Health care providers need to stay vigilant and proactive in maintaining HIPAA compliance in all facets of operations,” Bruce D. Armon and Karilynn Bayus, both of Saul Ewing in Philadelphia, said in a joint email to Legal Newsline.

Regular internal self-audits of HIPAA compliance and active review of policies and procedures and forms can help ensure good conduct. Mistakes can always occur.

“Creating and maintaining a committed culture of compliance can help mitigate circumstances that can lead to HIPAA investigations and/or payment of fines and entering into a corrective action plan.”

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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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complying with hipaa 2015

Lync: Guidelines for Complying with HIPAA 2015

Guidelines for complying with HIPAA privacy and security rules when using Lync

  • HIPAA requirements
  • Guidelines for securely storing and sharing sensitive data
  • Use disk encryption
  • Use a secure messaging application
  • Don’t save Lync call logs
  • Disable missed call notifications and voice mail text previews

To learn more about encryption and complying with HIPAA 2015, check out our FAQs section for encryption.

HIPAA Requirements

HIPAA compliance requires protected information to be encrypted when it’s “at rest” (i.e., in storage) and “in transit” (during transmission over a communications network). For further definition of these concepts, see Data Encryption.
All data “in transit” via Lync (for instant messaging, or voice or video conversations) are encrypted during transmission.
Information stored on servers is also encrypted. This, plus the additional measures of housing the Lync and Outlook servers in the CAM Hosted Exchange Data Center, and restricting physical and administrative access to them, satisfies one end of the “at rest” requirement.
However, the other end of the “at rest” requirement must be met client-side (i.e., on your computer). It is important that you (or your companies IT Pro) take the following recommended precautions to ensure the devices (e.g., computers, laptops, and mobile devices) and applications (e.g., Lync/Skype for Business, and Outlook) you use are properly secured to protect any sensitive data they store or transmit.

Guidelines for Securely Storing and Sharing Sensitive Data

CAM recommends taking the following precautions if you store or communicate data that contain protected health information (PHI) or other sensitive data protected by HIPAA.

Use Disk Encryption

Use disk encryption on any desktop system, laptop, or portable device you use to access or store sensitive data. We prefer DESLock Enterprise because of its central management capabilities.

Use a Secure Messaging Application

Use a secure messaging application, such as the Echoworx, when you use Outlook to forward email and voice mail messages containing sensitive data. See our Encrypted Email FAQs

Don’t Save Lync Call Logs

Make sure Lync is not saving your call logs (this applies to Windows computers only).

To do so:

  • In Lync, in the upper right corner, click the Options (gear) icon.
  • From the menu on the left, select Personal.
  • Make sure the box next to “Save call logs in my email Conversation History folder” is unchecked.
  • Click OK.
Disable Missed Call Notifications and Voice Mail Text Previews

Disable missed call notifications and voice mail text previews of voice messages; you must use the Outlook Web App (OWA) to access these settings.

To do so:

  • Log into OWA , and in the upper right, click the Settings (gear) icon. Click Options.
  • In the left navigation bar, click phone.
  • To disable missed call notifications, at the top, if necessary, click voice mail. Under “notifications” (you may need to scroll down), uncheck the box next to “Send an email message to my Inbox when I miss a phone call”. Additionally, if you have text message notifications set up, select I don’t want to receive text messages about missed calls and voice messages.
  • To disable text preview of voice messages, on the voice mail tab, under “voice mail preview”, uncheck the boxes next to “Include preview text with voice messages I receive” and “Include preview text with voice messages I send through Outlook Voice Access”.
  • To save your changes, in the bottom left, click save.
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hipaa gaps

What Closing the HIPAA Gaps Means for the Future of Healthcare Privacy

By now, most people have felt the effects of the HIPAA Privacy Rule (from the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act). HIPAA has set the primary standard for the privacy of healthcare information in the United States since the rule went into effect in 2003. It’s an important rule that creates significant baseline privacy protections for healthcare information across the country.


Yet, from the beginning, important gaps have existed in HIPAA – the most significant involving its “scope.” The rule was driven by congressional decisions having little to do with privacy, but focused more on the portability of health insurance coverage and the transmission of standardized electronic transactions.

Because of the way the HIPAA law was crafted, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) could only write a privacy rule focused on HIPAA “covered entities” like healthcare providers and health insurers. This left certain segments of related industries that regularly use or create healthcare information—such as life insurers or workers compensation carriers— beyond the reach of the HIPAA rules. Therefore, the HIPAA has always had a limited scope that did not provide full protection for all medical privacy.

So why do we care about this now?

While the initial gaps in HIPAA were modest, in the past decade, we’ve seen a dramatic increase in the range of entities that create, use, and disclose healthcare information and an explosion in the creation of healthcare data that falls outside HIPAA.

For example, commercial websites like Web MD and patient support groups regularly gather and distribute healthcare information. We’ve also seen a significant expansion in mobile applications directed to healthcare data or offered in connection with health information. There’s a new range of “wearable” products that gather your health data. Virtually none of this information is covered by HIPAA.

At the same time, the growing popularity of Big Data is also spreading the potential impact from this unprotected healthcare data. A recent White House report found that Big Data analytics have the potential to eclipse longstanding civil rights protections in how personal information is used in many areas including healthcare. The report also stated that the privacy frameworks that currently cover healthcare information may not be well suited to address these developments. There is no indication that this explosion is slowing down.

We’ve reached (and passed) a tipping point on this issue, creating enormous concern over how the privacy interests of individuals are being protected (if at all) for this “non-HIPAA” healthcare data. So, what can be done to address this problem?

Debating the solutions

Healthcare leaders have called for broader controls to afford some level of privacy to all health information, regardless of its source. For example, FTC commissioner Julie Brill asks whether we should be “breaking down the legal silos to better protect that same health information when it is generated elsewhere.”

These risks also intersect with the goal of “patient engagement,” which has become an important theme of healthcare reform. There’s increased concern about how patients view this use of data, and whether there are meaningful ways for patients to understand how their data is being used. The complexity of the regulatory structure (where protections depend on sources of data rather than “kinds” of data), and the determining data sources (which is often difficult, if not impossible), has led to an increased call for broader but simplified regulation of healthcare data overall. This likely will call into question the lines that were drawn by the HIPAA statute, and easily could lead to a re-evaluation of the overall HIPAA framework.

Three options are being discussed on how to address non-HIPAA healthcare data:

  • Establishing a specific set of principles applicable only to “non-HIPAA healthcare data” (with an obvious ambiguity about what “healthcare data” would mean)
  • Developing a set of principles (through an amendment to the scope of HIPAA or otherwise) that would apply to all healthcare data
  • Creating a broader general privacy law that would apply to all personal data (with or without a carve-out for data currently covered by the HIPAA rules).

It’s clear that the debate and policymaking “noise” on this issue will be ongoing and extensive. Affected groups will make proposals, regulators will opine, and legislative hearings will be held. Industry groups may develop guidelines or standards to forestall federal legislation. We’re a long way from any agreement on defining new rules, despite the growing consensus that something must be done.

Therefore, companies that create, gather, use, or disclose any kind of healthcare data should evaluate how this debate might affect them and how their behavior might need to change in the future. The challenge for your company is to understand these issues, think carefully and strategically about your role in the debate, and anticipate how they could affect your business going forward.

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5 Best Practices for Mobile Device Security in Healthcare

The specter of HIPAA is at the back of every health care provider’s mind, every day, in every interaction. Providers must constantly question if the information they are sharing, and how they are sharing it, falls within the law’s privacy guidelines. If they aren’t following the rules, they know, they could face significant fines and other consequences.

Yet for many providers, the same care and consideration that they give to conversations, emails, and other interactions doesn’t always extend to their mobile device use. Often, it’s assumptions about the security of their devices, as in, they believe that they are more secure than they really are, that leads to potential HIPAA violations, not to mention, creating the risk of a data breach. For that reason, it’s important that health care providers, and facilities, make mobile device security a bigger priority, in order to protect patient information and confidentiality.

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