HIPAA compliance is essential for any medical practice. In order to be successful with HIPAA regulation the need to understand the requirement of HIPAA compliance is required. The protocol of HIPAA compliance states that is the basic requirement to evaluate your organization’s HIPAA compliance is to take a test for understanding the areas of risks or vulnerabilities.
It is a common issue that most of the medical practices come across with the advancement of technology and usage of website design to gather the information of the patients online. It has been observed that commonly most risk prone section of any medical website is the “contact” or “request an appointment” sections because they have information about the patient. If the patient’s download the pdf version and print are safe as no information is transmitted but practices that have option of online registration form to collect patient information are at risk.
To comply with HIPAA a website can ask several different items that are safe. The items are as follows:
- phone number
If the form requires these information, then it is in compliance with HIPAA as it does not contain any medical information of the patient all that it has enquired is about basic contact information. It is the absence of any specific health information that makes the website free from HIPAA compliance.
It is only when the website starts to ask specific health issues or symptoms, the practice must be sure of its being HIPAA compliant. If the form has a category for “reason for appointment” then it has to follow the HIPAA rules.
For a practice to be HIPAA compliant, the following points should be borne in mind:
- all health information of the patient when transmitted online across the networks should be encrypted.
- The data so collected from the patients should be stored on a HIPAA compliant hosting server, this implies that the data should not be stored in the website where you are securing forms.
- In order for the practice to receive email , the email address should be HIPAA compliant. Another option for safe usage of email is to have a designated staff member login to portal to scan the submitted forms.
- The medical practice and the associated parties or the website vendor all should have a Business Associate Agreement in order to comply with HIPAA.
HIPAA is mainly concerned with the safe transmission of specifically identifiable patient details there exists a dicey area. Majorly if a request for appointment has been made to dentist then it is for sure that it has been done for dental treatment. Thus the practices that desire to be conservative can collect information on their website but not gather any health related information.
HIPAA compliance is essential for medical websites, there should be adequate importance for online HIPAA training for the employees so as to help in accurate HIPAA compliance.