HIPAA Compliance for IT Professionals: Requirements, Risks, and Rewards
As an IT professional, simply servicing a healthcare client, or reselling HIPAA compliance, poses risks but can also be extremely rewarding. What do you need to do for HIPAA compliance as an IT professional, and why should you add HIPAA to your offerings?
HIPAA Compliance for IT Professionals: Requirements
First, you may be wondering, “do I even need to be HIPAA compliant as an IT professional?” The answer is yes, even if you have just one healthcare client. When a vendor works in the healthcare vertical, HIPAA law considers them a business associate (a business contracted by a healthcare organization with the potential to access their data). When you are not HIPAA compliant, you put your business and clients’ businesses at risk of fines for HIPAA violations.
- Security risk assessments and remediation. You are probably already aware of the importance of assessing your risks to prepare yourself against threats. This is also a part of HIPAA compliance. In addition to the technical audits you’re used to, HIPAA also requires administrative and physical audits. The compliance gaps identified by these audits must be addressed with remediation efforts.
- HIPAA policies and procedures. Much of the HIPAA regulation discusses the proper uses and disclosures of protected health information (PHI). HIPAA requires safeguards to be in place to ensure the privacy and security of PHI. Implementing HIPAA policies and procedures is essential to this. HIPAA policies and procedures must be drafted per the HIPAA Privacy, Security, and Breach Notification Rules.
- HIPAA compliance training for IT professionals. You must train anyone on your staff that has the potential to access PHI. HIPAA compliance training for IT professionals must include an overview of HIPAA, and training on your HIPAA policies and procedures. To meet HIPAA training standards, employees should be trained annually or if there is a change in business operations.
- Business associate agreements. Part of HIPAA compliance requires you to have signed business associate agreements with your healthcare clients. Without a business associate agreement (BAA), you and your client could be held liable for a breach of patient information. A BAA limits your liability in the event of a breach, as only the negligent party would be held responsible. Without a signed BAA, both parties could be held liable regardless of who is at fault.
- Incident management and response. As you know, quickly responding to incidents is key to limiting the scope of an incident. When incidents potentially compromise the privacy or security of PHI, you must follow HIPAA breach notification procedures.
HIPAA Compliance for IT Professionals: Risks
There are certain risks associated with working in the healthcare space. These risks stem from failing to comply with HIPAA rules and regulations or trusting the wrong information.
- Not being HIPAA compliant yourself. As you now know, you need to be HIPAA compliant, and when you’re not, you put yourself and your clients at risk.
- Not having a business associate agreement. You are violating the law when you don’t have signed business associate agreements in place with your healthcare clients. You’re also assuming more risk than you would have with a signed agreement.
- Choosing the wrong partner to offer compliance to clients. There are several options to choose from as your HIPAA compliance partner, but not all are equal. Some HIPAA compliance services provide little guidance to their partners on servicing their healthcare clients. The right HIPAA partner will service your healthcare clients for you, allowing you to focus on what you do best, IT.
HIPAA Compliance for IT Professionals: Rewards
While there are risks when it comes to HIPAA, multiple benefits come from adding compliance to your offerings.
- Offering clients a valuable service. Your healthcare clients need to be HIPAA compliant anyway, so why not offer to help them with it. Healthcare organizations often need help with HIPAA, seeking out a service to guide them. You can set your clients up for success by easing their HIPAA burden.
- Low barriers to entry with the right partner. HIPAA is complex, and your clients will likely have many questions. The good thing is that with the right HIPAA compliance provider as a partner, you can leave the questions to them. Longtime Compliancy Group Partner Ryan Smith stated, “In the first few years, we leveraged the Compliancy Group team to help us sell HIPAA to our clients, and after doing tons of demos with them, we were set up for a lot of success with HIPAA.”
- Increase your MRR. IT professionals can increase their deal size by 10 – 20% by offering HIPAA compliance services. The ability to upsell with HIPAA compliance helps close more deals, and bundling HIPAA with other offerings increases MRR.
- Justify advanced security offerings. Part of your client becoming HIPAA compliant requires them to conduct a security risk assessment (SRA). SRAs identify weaknesses and vulnerabilities in their data security practices – which they will need your help to fix. “When completing my self-audits as a Compliancy Group customer, my partner light bulbs started to go on. There’s so much money to be made helping my existing clients become HIPAA compliant because once they go through all this work – when it comes to remediation, it’s this guy who has to help them. Then that drives the next six months for the customer. I am doing my customer a solid by helping them implement things they need to do anyway. I know they’re well taken care of as far as HIPAA, and I’m well compensated for doing the work. It’s completely win-win,” Jesse Perry, Founder, JP Technical, commented.
- Increase potential client base. Healthcare is the fastest-growing sector of the economy, and it’s recession-proof. By becoming HIPAA compliant and offering HIPAA to your clients, your potential client base grows exponentially. You can’t service the healthcare sector when you’re not HIPAA compliant.
- Clients stay sticky to your firm. Retaining clients is just as, if not more, important as gaining new clients. The more clients’ needs you can satisfy, the more likely you are to keep them year after year. HIPAA can be the key to this. The regulation has annual requirements that must be met, and your clients need help to do so.
Compliancy Group’s Partner Program
Compliancy Group’s HIPAA Partner Program allows you to benefit from our industry-leading HIPAA compliance software and expertise. You handle the security; we’ll handle the compliance.
Our team of Compliance Coaches walk your clients through our HIPAA compliance software solution, enabling them to implement a complete HIPAA compliance program efficiently and effectively. As a Compliancy Group partner, you share in our profits with each client you bring to us without worrying about becoming a HIPAA expert yourself.
As an added value, you have exclusive access to our content marketing team, giving you the resources to educate your clients and sell HIPAA compliance. Find out more about our Partner Program!