Corporations in different sectors are governed by specific rules and regulation that depends on the industry. These guidelines are to ensure that every group in the market treats information in a sensitive and likewise manner. The rules are defined either by industry as a whole, organisation in a compliant to its services or perhaps an extension of the state law.
One such notable set of regulations is the Health Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) that takes into consideration institutions and organisations pertinent to the healthcare industry. However, each and every corporation nowadays is interconnected to each other in many different ways so today; we’ll look into HIPAA compliance laws and connection to a typical data centre.
HIPAA: A general overview
“All entities operating within the health sector must adhere to HIPAA during storing, transmission & assurance to the protection of health care information”
HIPAA as a law was passed and accepted as a law in 1996 and over time, there’ve been a few changes with the overall industrial face. Initially, HIPAA regulations concerned transfer and maintenance of health insurance for the American society. It also dictates broad industry standards for the treatment of patients’ healthcare details alongside the information such as electronic billing and other key procedures.
Overall, entities that fall within the healthcare sector must strictly adhere to the HIPAA standards to help reduce or simply minus fraud or abuse within the industry. It also keeps every organisation on the same page or scale concerning sensitive information of the patients that includes data centre as well!
Impact of HIPAA
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) in the U.S. outlines the scope of HIPAA that cover entities and their immediate business associates. Provided below are entities that HIPAA covers;
- Nursing home facilities,
- Pharmacies and;
Besides the above, all institutions and facilities concerning storage and transmission of healthcare data electronically are also covered by HIPAA that includes data centres.
Health plans that includes health insurance providers, HMOs, health plans defined by employer and government health plans including those of the military and veteran are impacted by HIPAA requirements.
Healthcare clearing houses and other such organisation that partake in receiving and processing of any nonstandard healthcare information of any form are also included.
In addition to the above, all businesses having certain degree of association with the organisations are also covered under HIPAA compliant rules. All these associates must’ve a written concord defining the all the entities under the umbrella, their responsibilities and requirements as per HIPAA.
Compliance in the data centre
All businesses and associations under the HIPAA standards must ensure their technical service providers are compliant as well. Since healthcare industries around the world witnessed major digital transformation in recent years, most of the data now is in electronic format which is the reason colocation and data centre should comply with HIPAA policies. There’re numerous benchmarks that however aren’t spelled out in the law but a crucial part of facilities security. Have a look below for clarification;
- Threat identification is about recognising possible vulnerabilities impacting the confidentiality of health information in a digitally protected format.
- Physical security takes into consideration access to the building with proper security protocols alongside installation of relevant systems such as CCTVs and offsite intermediary security monitoring.
- Regular checks to make sure all security standards are being met and processed accordingly.
All in all, compliance to the HIPAA standards is essential especially within the healthcare industry and choosing a data centre that adheres to the regulations is one of the many steps. A compliance service provider helps support organisation’s operations with services that are aligned to the industry specific requisites.
The two most important sections of HIPAA include “Privacy” and “Security” rules that are directly correlated to each other. The above details broadly explain about the industry standards in compliance to HIPAA and how data centres fit in the broad spectrum.