Can Software Solve Your HIPAA Compliance Issues?
I frequently see healthcare software development companies claiming to produce “HIPAA Compliant” software on their web sites, and ask myself “how can that be?”
HIPAA Compliance is not just the implementation of Technical Safeguards within a software product; it is the journey toward addressing and implementing the requirements for the HIPAA Privacy and Security Rules. Healthcare applications can only go as far as meeting the Technical safeguards for the HIPAA Security Rule. Without the accompanying Physical and Administrative Safeguards to support the HIPAA Privacy Rule, healthcare technology, including software, in and of itself cannot stand alone.
In addition to the Privacy and Security Rules, an organization needs to also address the HITECH Rule, which includes breach notification, audits, and enforcement; and the HIPAA Omnibus rule (aka the Final Rule), which applies HIPAA compliance to not only the Covered Entities, but also to Business Associates. In order to achieve full HIPAA compliance, an organization has to address all aspects of HIPAA, not just the Technical Safeguards from the Security Rule. So buyers beware. Make sure that your Healthcare IT solution provider has the right team in place to guide you correctly with your HIPAA-related solutions.
In the next few months, I will be addressing each section of the Technical Safeguards as it applies to healthcare software development from the perspective of a Business Associate. I will include best practices to achieve compliance with the Technical Safeguards, and will discuss appropriate policies and procedures for healthcare information technology with regards to the HIPAA Privacy and Security Rules, along with requirements for Breach Notification and Audits.
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