HIPAA is one of the essential provisions that seek to safeguard the interests of patients as well as organizations covered under the act. In spite of repeated awareness campaigns, organizations still trip up when it comes to preparing for a HIPAA security assessment.
As online threats that seek to penetrate into healthcare systems grow more advanced, the need for a security policy that can protect the Personal Health Information (PHI) of the stakeholders concerned is more essential than ever.
In order to help organizations prepare for their HIPAA security assessment, here are the top five tips that organizations should keep in mind.
Identify Key PHI Points
One of the first things that your organization should take care of for a HIPAA security assessment is to make sure that all PHI sources are covered under the assessment. This means clearly identifying all points along the data transmission and dissemination path where PHI is received, stored, and transmitted from.
Take Note of Current and Potential Threats
Vulnerabilities exist in every system; but so do the measures to overcome them. Your HIPAA security assessment should lay special emphasis on identifying and documenting all existing threats. Along with this, make sure to take note of any potential dangers that may arise in the future, as these too can be of vital importance to the safety of your PHI.
Perform a Breach Impact Assessment
Many organizations are initially reluctant to conform to HIPAA as they find the requirements and provisions of the act too complex to implement. If you are thinking along similar lines then probably it is time to think about the after effects of not following secure practices. Performing a breach impact assessment on your existing digital assets will provide you with an idea of the kind of damage you may be facing in the event of an attack.
Rank Your Risks
Remember, not all risks are created equal. There may be some vulnerabilities which have a very small chance of turning into threats; whereas others may be potentially devastating. Take time to clearly list all the potential and active vulnerabilities in your digital assets. Then grade them according to the potential risk level. Doing so will give you a clear idea about which holes you need to plug immediately, and which can be left for later.
Do What Is Necessary
Change is hard, and taking action to implement said change can be even harder. However, in the best interests of security you should always seek out what needs to be done. Often this may involve going through difficult to understand processes. In such a case, employ the aid of professionals who can help you in this regard.
The above tips are meant to ease the process of your HIPAA Security Assessment. In the event you still find it difficult to follow the compliance procedures and are having a hard time starting, it’s best to seek external help.