What are HIPAA Compliance Best Practices?

The HIPAA regulation consists of a complex set of rules that can be difficult to navigate. As such, determining HIPAA compliance best practices for your organization can be a daunting task. To clear up some of the common HIPAA misconceptions, HIPAA best practices is discussed below.

HIPAA Compliance Best Practices: Policies and Procedures

One of the most important aspects of HIPAA compliance is ensuring the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of protected health information (PHI). This is accomplished through administrative, technical, and physical safeguards. 

Implementing policies and procedures in your organization mandates the safeguards that must be in place securing PHI. They also ensure that employees are aware of the permitted uses and disclosures of PHI.

HIPAA Compliance Best Practices: Sanction Policy

Within your organization’s policies and procedures, there must be a section that discusses employee sanctions. Employees that violate HIPAA standards or your organization’s policies and procedures are required to be disciplined. Disciplinary actions should vary based on the severity of the violation, and how many patients that violation affected.

HIPAA Compliance Best Practices: Conducting a Risk Assessment

Each year, organizations must conduct a security risk assessment (SRA). An SRA identifies vulnerabilities in your organization’s safeguards. Determining gaps in your safeguards allows you to address vulnerabilities with remediation efforts.

HIPAA Compliance Best Practices: Risk Management

Creating remediation efforts allows you to mitigate your risks to a “reasonable and appropriate level.” Additionally, developing a disaster recovery plan ensures that your organization is prepared to quickly respond to and recover from incidents.

HIPAA Compliance Best Practices: Identifying Relevant Information Systems

A key component of developing a disaster recovery plan is identifying relevant information systems. Information systems that contain PHI, or business essential data, should be backed up to prevent data loss in the event of an incident.

HIPAA Compliance Best Practices: IT Systems and Services

To adequately protect sensitive data you may need to implement additional security measures.

The measures you may consider include:

Multi-Factor Authentication

Data-at-Rest Encryption

Data-in-Transit Encryption

Cryptographic Key Management

HIPAA Compliance Best Practices: Information System Activity Review

To quickly detect incidents, you must implement audit controls. Audit controls track access to sensitive data to ensure that access patterns are within a normal range for your organization. When data is accessed excessively, it could be an indication that your organization may be the victim of a breach.

HIPAA Compliance Best Practices: HIPAA Training

Employees are required to undergo training annually. Employee training ensures that all employees are aware of their obligations under HIPAA.

HIPAA training should cover the following topics:

HIPAA standards

Your organization’s internal policies and procedures 

How to recognize phishing attempts

Proper use of social media