When you hear the phrase “HIPAA compliance,” you might first think about the effort and resources necessary to meet the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act’s many requirements. HIPAA isn’t just a hurdle you have to jump, though.
Achieving and maintaining HIPAA compliance can increase your company’s revenue and support its future growth. Read on to learn what exactly HIPAA is, how achieving compliance can boost your company’s growth potential, and which next steps you’ll need to take to get there.
What is HIPAA?
Let’s start at the beginning. HIPAA — the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act — is a federal law that was established in 1996. The primary objective of HIPAA is to protect patients’ sensitive health information by setting standards for the security, privacy, and integrity of patient information.
The rules of HIPAA apply to anyone defined as a covered entity under the law. This includes organizations like healthcare providers, health plans, healthcare clearinghouses, academic medical centers, as well as business associates of these groups. Essentially, any organization that collects, processes, stores, or shares protected health information (PHI) is considered a covered entity and is federally obligated to follow HIPAA’s regulations.
How can HIPAA compliance increase revenue?
But how can a regulation guarding patient information increase your company’s revenue? The answer is threefold. Maintaining HIPAA compliance ensures trust, which boosts new business. Once established, a culture of compliance makes future certifications simple. And, maintaining compliance avoids the financial and reputational pitfalls of violations.
Build trust to build business.
Whether your company has been around for decades or is a healthcare startup, HIPAA compliance is a necessity for building trust. And trust is a necessity for building the relationships with customers and partners that support continuing growth. Consistent HIPAA compliance elevates your reputation with potential business partners and assures consumers that they are making the right choice by giving you their business and trusting you with their health data. As a market leader that cares about security compliance, your company can count on standing out amidst the competition.
Set a strong security foundation to support growth.
Developing a culture of compliance supports the future security needs of your company, particularly if you use a multi-framework compliance platform like Strike Graph. HIPAA compliance requires company-wide involvement. The training you give your staff to support HIPAA emphasizes the value of broad security to your team, making it easier to maintain compliance long term. And, many of the measures you implement for HIPAA can be easily applied across all data, allowing for stronger overall security and the ability to quickly achieve compliance with other security frameworks.
Avoid the financial and reputational costs of noncompliance.
HIPAA violations can result in large fines and can also cause irreparable harm to an organization’s reputation. In 2017, the Office of Civil Rights fined Memorial Healthcare (a major Florida healthcare organization) a record $5.5 million dollars when their employees violated HIPAA and revealed the PHI of over 100,000 patients without consent.
The fine was massive, but perhaps even more damaging to the organization was the reputational damage caused when years of security neglect were revealed. And the worst part? It all could have been avoidable if the appropriate HIPAA controls had been implemented.
Are there HIPAA revenue benefits for managed service providers?
Managed service providers (MSPs) who offer services to health-related businesses are in a unique position in relation to HIPAA. Under the Omnibus Rule, they share HIPAA responsibility with the covered entities they contract with. And, because many MSPs are struggling to meet the demands of HIPAA, demonstrating an understanding of and commitment to HIPAA compliance can give your company a competitive edge. An MSP with HIPAA knowledge is an attractive business partner for healthcare companies that know they’re responsible for both their vendors’ and their own HIPAA compliance.
How can my company become HIPAA compliant?
So, how can you achieve compliance, increase revenue, and ultimately build a more trustworthy name for your organization? First, you must strictly adhere to the rules of HIPAA:
The Privacy Rule
The HIPAA Privacy Rule protects the privacy of PHI, regulates how PHI can and cannot be used, and defines how PHI must be handled – including storage and transmission. Three main types of information are covered by this rule: individually identifiable health information, summary health information, and de-identified health information.
The Security Rule
The Security Rule outlines the mechanisms by which PHI and ePHI should be protected. These mechanisms extend throughout the covered entity’s operation and fall into three groups:
Administrative: This includes the policies, procedures, and employee training that relate to the handling of PHI. It also refers to system design, risk management protocols, and other other security maintenance measures that are designed to protect PHI.
Physical: Physical defenses must be in place for all electronic devices. This includes computers, routers, switches, and other devices that are involved in storing data. Additionally, all equipment must be placed within a secured premise where only authorized employees have access.
Technical: This refers to an organization's overall cybersecurity, including encryption, network and device security, and any other control related to storing or transmitting PHI.
The Breach Rule
Given the size and scope of many healthcare organizations, HIPAA acknowledges that it’s almost impossible to ensure that absolutely zero violations of its rules will take place. The Breach Rule articulates what exactly an organization must do if a violation occurs, including the following:
- Written notice must be provided to all impacted parties within 60 days of the breach.
- If an organization does not have contact information for more than 10 people, an alternate method must be used — like posting information on a website for a designated period of time.
- If more than 500 people are affected, significant public notice must be provided through local media, and the Secretary of Health must be notified within 60 days.
The Omnibus Rule
Covered entities are also responsible for their business associates, including third-party vendors, which is why it’s so important, as mentioned above, that managed service providers achieve HIPAA compliance.
While there are some rule exceptions to HIPAA, most covered entities and their business associates will need to adhere to each rule’s guidelines.
How can Strike Graph help with HIPAA compliance?
HIPAA compliance is a daunting task on your own, but Strike Graph simplifies and speeds the process. We right-size the process for your unique organizational needs so you don’t do unneeded, extra work. And, our compliance platform brings your whole team on board, distributing the weight of HIPAA compliance and making it lighter for everyone.
Strike Graph also supports multiple frameworks, so you can leverage the work you do to reach HIPAA compliance to achieve additional security certifications down the road.