We all know that IT Organizations working in the highly regulated industries are always under extra scrutiny when it comes to privacy and data security. In recent posts about the healthcare industry and HIPAA regulatory requirements, I have written about BYOD and other security issues.
In past posts, I have dealt with Change Management for audit tracking and more. Today's post is about using Change Management to better meet the compliance requirements for HIPAA security regulations.
If you are looking to improve your audit preparation with a Change Management solution, check out the offer below.
The recent TechTarget e-guide, How to Comply with the HIPAA Security Rule is a great place to get a basic understanding of compliance.
The Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act extended the requirement for direct compliance with Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) security and privacy rules to business associates of covered entities... Now all organizations entrusted with PHI are directly responsible for protection, breach notification and breach penalties.
5 Easy to Understand Steps to Compliance
1. Identifying, analyzing risk under the HIPAA security rule
2. Controlling access to electronic PHI
3. Protecting electronic PHI, in place and in motion
4. Manage partners, ease HIPAA security rule compliance
5. Protect connections, ensure health information security
One of the important requirements for compliance is to continually assess the risk to your Protected Health Information or PHI. Anytime you need to perform a variety of process tasks - especially one that requires an audit trail, you should utilize an ITIL-based process solution such as a Change and Release Management process. This is a great way to drive consistent results and be ready for your next audit.
Risk analysis, as defined by the HIPAA Security Rule, requires a formal, repeatable methodology that assesses the content, sensitivity and volume of information; the threats to the confidentiality, integrity and availability of PHI; and the effectiveness of the security controls the organization has implemented already. If the magnitude of risk is acceptable, the controls are adequate. If not, the organization has to select and implement new controls. This risk management method should be repeated regularly, with administrators understanding threats, evaluating controls and addressing weaknesses to comply with the HIPAA Security Rule.
One of the main requirements of the HIPAA Security Rule is that organizations must ensure that only authorized users have access to electronic PHI.
At a minimum, this means authenticating users with unique IDs. However, any good security program requires a thorough, auditable process for requesting and approving access, as well as a regular review of user privileges.
The secret to securing information is more about process than it is about technology. Bear in mind that the model for segregating data, granting access, logging access, reviewing use and reviewing access rights should be the same regardless of the underlying technology.
3 Controls to Improve Health Information Network Security:
1. Segregate critical health information systems from the rest of the network.
2. Employ strong wireless network security measures for all networks in the enterprise.
3. Lock down and monitor all connections to service providers and the Internet.
In order to protect your organization's PHI, you need to have a comprehensive security program with processes in place that create fully compliant audit trails. A great way to build these processes is within a change management workflow. It needs to be repeatable, able to be audited and easy to be refined as required to mitigate the ongoing risks associated with data loss.