HIPAA has been a crucial part of the healthcare industry for a long time now. However, with cybersecurity growing more and more prevalent, some may be questioning whether HIPAA is still applicable to business or healthcare organizations.
One of the key points to remember about HIPAA is that it was created before the age of cybersecurity. So, it may not provide the best safeguards when it comes to protecting patient information. It also doesn’t consider AI technology and advanced software like machine learning systems which enable companies to use data collected from patients as well as their healthcare providers in order to improve patient care quality and ensure appropriate outcomes.
The HIPAA rules on data security were updated in 2011 to include new protections for organizations and individuals in the face of increasing cyber threats. However, these guidelines are not enough to prevent data breaches. So, what does this mean for your business?
I’m HIPAA compliant, surely that provides enough data security…
You would probably think so, but sadly, no. Comprehensive data security is not necessarily guaranteed.
While HIPAA regulations may provide a certain level of defense against breaches, they often don’t provide the level of protection your business needs to combat increasingly present and advanced cyberthreats. In the last 2 years alone, the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has recorded almost 600 breaches of unsecured protected health information (PHI). This is a staggering amount, and it is rising quickly. Now is not the time to do the bare minimum in cybersecurity preparedness.
HIPAA regulations and compliance can provide your business with a solid foundation in cybersecurity, but with threat actors becoming more advanced in their cyberthreats and capabilities, simple HIPAA compliance may not be as robust as you think. The HHS has been pushing for interoperability to spur innovation and competition in the healthcare industry by giving patients and healthcare providers easier access to PHI, but increased interoperability could come with a new set of security issues that HIPAA is currently unprepared for. Regardless of whether HIPAA is prepared or not, though, if your organization experiences data leaks that expose any PHI because of interoperability, you will still be held responsible and penalized.
Why aren’t HIPAA rules and regulations enough?
We often look to the law to ensure we are doing the right thing and won’t be held incorrectly accountable should things go pear-shaped. This is not wrong, but it would be remiss to think that the law can predict societal, industrial, and technological changes which could impact your compliance.
At the end of the day, covered entities are the gatekeepers to the PHI they store, and as such, they must do whatever they can to prevent their PHI from being compromised. While the law can provide you with instruction and guidance to make this happen, the onus is still with you, and the government is NOT responsible for any breaches – even when you have followed HIPAA rules and regulations and done everything in your power to prevent a breach from happening.
How can an MSP help?
The future of healthcare continues to change with advancements in technology, but the importance of robust security has not diminished. Many small and medium-sized businesses are aware of the importance of cybersecurity, but they are not sure where to start or what to do. This is where a managed service provider (MSP) can help.
An MSP handles the management and maintenance of your company’s infrastructure, including all software, hardware, and network services. MSPs can also provide business continuity planning for your company in case there’s a cyberattack or natural disaster. Beyond these services, they also offer consulting on cybersecurity issues and compliance-related tasks such as HIPAA regulations.
Partnering with a HIPAA-verified MSP, like Merit Technologies, can give you the cybersecurity edge you need to not only become and stay HIPAA compliant, but it can also ensure your cybersecurity preparedness is always at its highest level. So, why not give the team at Merit Technologies a call today to see how they can help you protect your PHI.