Data Security and HIPAA Compliance

For healthcare providers, the decision to offer software as a service (SaaS) goes beyond questions of simple convenience and functionality. Healthcare organizations have the additional concern of responsibly managing a patient’s protected health information. It’s important that those designing and testing your software understand what info is protected under laws like the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and where to look to make sure that information is kept safe at all times.

HIPAA Privacy Rule

Basically, your app or software only needs to meet HIPAA’s compliance requirements if it will be used by an entity that is covered by HIPAA to get information about the patient. That means if health insurers, health plans, health care clearinghouses, or health care providers themselves will use your software to communicate with or get information about the patient, the software must meet HIPAA’s Privacy Rule. This rule requires appropriate safeguards to protect the privacy of personal health information and sets limits and conditions on the uses and disclosures of that information without patient authorization. The Privacy Rule also gives patients the right to examine and obtain a copy of their health records, and to request corrections.

Ensuring HIPAA Compliance

The basic requirement for HIPAA compliance in your software is making sure you put safeguards in place to protect patient health information. This means reasonably limiting the use and sharing of protected health information, including limiting access to patient information without identity verification. The HIPAA security rules require three kinds of safeguards for software:

Technical Safeguards: things like user access control, encryption, and decryption, and automatic logoff.

Physical Safeguards: things like keeping software maintenance records, disposing of digital records properly, and data backup and storage security.

Administrative Safeguards: things like login monitoring, internal security processes, and protection against malware.

Detecting issues like data redundancy and unknown portals for access to data are essential parts of the quality testing of any healthcare software governed by HIPAA. If you’re a healthcare provider who needs to provide HIPAA compliant, user-friendly, industry-leading software for your patients and staff, contact us today to begin your journey to quality