In the healthcare industry, there is no law with as much punch as HIPAA. It’s been more than 20 years since it was enacted, and yet, the risks that the healthcare industry is facing now seem more serious than ever. Data breaches, criminal attacks and employee negligence are just some of the threats that healthcare organizations need to neutralize. Non-compliance with HIPAA can mean heavy penalties and fines and mandatory audits for organizations.
Read this infographic to familiarize yourself with HIPAA and learn how an email archiving tool can help your organization to keep all medical records safe and compliant.
What is HIPAA?
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA), enacted by the US Congress to prevent fraud and abuse in the health sector, regulates how health care providers manage the Protected Health Information (PHI), including medical records and payments. It obliges healthcare organizations to regulate the models of health plans and policies and protect patient confidentiality by ensuring stable network security in accordance with regulatory compliance.
The Act covers these topics through two Titles:
Title I: Health Care Access, Portability, and Renewability
Regulates group health plans and individual health insurance policies
Title II: Preventing Health Care Fraud and Abuse
Defines policies, guidelines and procedures to ensure the privacy of health information and outlines penalties for violations
Why is it important?
Title II of the Act specifically imposed new challenges on health organizations to assess and transform their systems in order to follow specific guidelines with respect to digital data archiving and electronic communication of patients’ sensitive data. To meet these guidelines, their archiving solutions had to be updated to provide fast and easy record accessibility and eDiscovery, as well as safe data storage.
How to Comply with HIPAA with Email Archiving
To ensure their digital records were in accordance with HIPAA, health organizations faced the challenge of handling sensitive data in a way that would provide quick access, search and audit of the archived data. After the Act was enacted, there was a growing need for software solutions that would meet the Act’s Privacy Rule and allow fast and safe eDiscovery and restore process in cases of potential legal disputes. By combining data centralization and regulatory compliance, Email Archiving stepped up as the most efficient solution that helps health providers perform their duties in accordance with HIPAA. Here’s how.
Data Control & Compliance
By employing external software solutions or servers in the cloud, health organizations put sensitive patient data at risk of data loss or violations. Email Archiving allows safe data backup and restore internally, within the organization, regardless of its size or the number of employees.
With email archiving, medical records can be kept across the system and in accordance with retention policies which help organizations to define what should be archived and for how long. This helps to avoid the piling up of irrelevant data and protects the data that follows under the Privacy Rule.
Fast & Easy eDiscovery
Despite enormous lists of records under the given policies, email archiving lets organizations track and find specific patient data easily and without the risk of data loss or damage. This is especially important for health providers with large numbers of patients.
Email Archiving easily optimizes inbox with email deduplication, spam recognition and indexing, leading to the optimization of storage space. This ultimately improves the performance of the organization’s server, which gets less burdened by the amount of data it has to process.
As transparency is one of the key elements in handling sensitive information, email archiving helps organizations track all aspects of digital communication that involves patients’ sensitive data. With email archiving, organizations can have a clear record of all activities and track email communication that they are obliged to provide in cases of legal disputes.
Cost and Staff Optimization
Faced with potential severe penalties for malpractice, health organizations had to hire HIPAA consultants to meet regulatory compliance both prior to and after the enactment of HIPAA. With the automation that email archiving offers, organizations can cut the costs made for employing additional experts or external software solutions for regulatory compliance.
By failing to meet HIPAA regulations, health providers face heavy penalties and fines that amount to millions of dollars. To optimize their digital data handling and keep all their medical records safe, companies need to perform a risk management assessment and implement data security solutions. With the help of email archiving, the technical aspect of the whole process can be simplified, automated and kept internally. To learn more about the benefits of email archiving, contact Jatheon.