What To Consider When Looking For HIPAA-Compliant Custom Application
BY: CARLOS FELICIANO-MISLA
Today, technology has made it possible for healthcare institutions to store and manage their private and important medical records in the form of digital files. This move has opened up new possibilities for healthcare professionals to collaborate in the bid to further research and improve on the quality of their services.
Therefore, as more and more medical records are stored and shared digitally, the US government drew up the HIPPA-Compliant law to safeguard information from data breaches. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability (HIPPA) Act is a US law coined to provide privacy standards to protect patients’ medical records together with other health information that is provided to hospitals, doctors, and other health caregivers. This law is one of the business requirements to be followed when developing custom software.
With this law in place, you now need to choose effective HIPPA compliant custom applications for your healthcare business in order to avoid breaches and fines. In your pursuit to find the HIPPA-compliant application that best suits your business, you need to consider and look out for:
- Choose Vendors Who Are Expertly Familiar with HIPPA
Ask to see evidence of a vendor’s full HIPAA compliance. This is because a majority of the cloud service providers claim to be HIPPA compliant but have not fully completed the steps to really making themselves HIPPA compliant.
- Review the Vendor’s BA Agreement (BAA) Carefully
A fully compliant vendor should have a compliant BAA on hand, ready to send. The BAA should contain all the terms HIPAA requires, but be careful of extra terms not required by HIPAA, even if HIPAA permits them. Developers, be sure you note the jurisdiction of the BAA in its terms, as jurisdiction determines the court a developer must use if legal problems arise.
- Ensure That the Custom Application Software Allows to Carry Self Audits and Risk Assessment
Any HIPPA compliant HIPPA software should provide you with the ability to audit your practice and carry out security risk assessments against HIPPA rules.
It is important to note that some software solutions will give you the ability to follow through with your security risk assessment without fully adhering to HIPPA requirements. Therefore, you should be very critical when looking out for this element in your custom application.
- Provision of Business Associate Management
HIPAA regulation requires healthcare professionals to execute contracts with their health care vendors before they share health care data. These contracts are called Business Associate Agreements (BAAs), and they’re meant to protect your practice from liability in the event of a breach caused by a health care vendor.
An effective HIPAA compliance software should come included with pre-vetted Business Associate Agreements, in addition to a means for properly storing them once they’ve been executed and signed.
- Availability of Breach/Incident Management
An effective HIPAA compliance software should give users the ability to track and document all stages of a data breach or incident investigation. More so, it should provide an element of cybersecurity before a crisis hits.
In the event that the data breach spurs an OCR HIPAA investigation, the affected organization must be able to demonstrate the steps they’ve taken in the aftermath of a breach.