Cybersecurity in health care is more important than ever. Hackers see healthcare organizations as a prime target, often lacking advanced security. Healthcare breaches also come at a higher cost than in any other industry. So how can chiropractors improve cybersecurity within their practices?
- Conduct annual HIPAA security risk assessments.
- Create and implement remediation plans.
- Have written security policies and procedures.
- Implement HIPAA Security Rule safeguards.
- Train employees on cybersecurity best practices.
- Have a system in place for detecting, responding to, and reporting breaches.
HIPAA Security Risk Assessment
Organizations subject to HIPAA must conduct a HIPAA security risk assessment. HIPAA security risk assessments (SRAs) are essential to compliance and security, as they assess your current security measures against HIPAA Security Rule requirements.
SRAs are also necessary to determine what cybersecurity practices your practice should implement. HIPAA requires practices to implement security measures that are “reasonably appropriate” for their practice, which is where SRAs come in. What is appropriate for one practice will not necessarily be suitable for another. SRAs are integral to determining what HIPAA Security Rule safeguards your practice should adopt.
HIPAA Remediation Plans
Chiropractic practices should create HIPAA remediation plans based on the findings of the SRA. The purpose of remediation plans is to address deficiencies in your current security practices. To be effective, remediation plans must be specific, including how your practice will address weaknesses, who is responsible for remediation, and a timeline for remediation.
Security Policies and Procedures
Security policies and procedures provide specific guidelines on how your practice secures protected health information (PHI). Your security policies and procedures tie into your practice’s safeguards to keep PHI secure.
HIPAA Security Rule Safeguards
A large portion of healthcare cybersecurity depends on keeping PHI private and secure. The HIPAA Security Rule mandates that chiropractic practices ensure PHI’s confidentiality, integrity, and availability by implementing safeguards.
HIPAA Security Rule safeguards must address administrative, physical, and technical areas.
Administrative safeguards guide healthcare practices on the proper uses and disclosures of PHI through written policies and procedures. Policies and procedures also provide information on how your practice keeps PHI private and secure.
Physical safeguards, while not directly related to cybersecurity, are crucial to securing PHI. These measures secure your physical location (office). This may include installing locks, alarm systems, and security cameras.
Technical safeguards generally get the most attention regarding cybersecurity, as most PHI is stored in an electronic format. Technical safeguards include access controls, audit controls, integrity controls, and transmission security.
Most cybersecurity incidents occur due to human error. Training your employees on cybersecurity best practices and your practice’s internal policies and procedures is crucial to incident prevention. Phishing incidents, in particular, are common within the healthcare industry. Giving employees periodic phishing tests is an excellent way to prevent these incidents.
Breaches are expensive. Early detection and response are the best ways to prevent an incident from breaking the bank. Having a tested incident response plan reduces costs associated with breaches exponentially. From a HIPAA perspective, knowing breach reporting obligations can also prevent HHS fines.
Compliancy Group’s simplified software solution, coupled with Compliance Coach® guidance, help chiropractors achieve HIPAA compliance with ease. As ACA’s Preferred HIPAA Solution, chiropractors can be confident in their compliance program. Find out more about Compliancy Group and HIPAA compliance. Learn more.
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