It’s been over twenty years since the Health Insurance Provider and Accountability Act (HIPAA) was put into motion.
Many factors have evolved since then. There have been numerous advancements in technology that introduce new circumstances surrounding data security.
If you’re operating a business in the healthcare field or medical practice, you may need to hire a hosting provider that is proficient in HIPAA compliance standards.
Keep reading to know what to look for in a HIPAA compliance services provider.
1. Secure Data Infrastructure
A HIPAA security compliance provider must have the ability to facilitate an auditor’s risk assessment. The auditor will be interested in inspecting the environment that stores patient data.
Audits involve a physical inspection. Therefore, your provider must allow auditors entrance into the facility for inspection. The auditor will access each component of your provider’s system. This includes systems related to the availability, confidentiality, and uptime of the data.
Physical security should remain a top priority when it comes to finding a provider with secure data infrastructure. This is especially true when it comes to patient healthcare data and information.
Secure data centers typically include several areas.
Your data center should be housed in a risk-free environment. This level of security keeps information safe from disasters (both natural and artificial).
Design and Physical Infrastructure
The data infrastructure should include layered security. Layered security ensures compliance with your healthcare data.
This requires high-quality monitoring systems, secure procedures, and physical barriers. It would help if you also had multi-factor authentication enabled.
Third-Party Compliance Audits
You must know what security process and certifications the hosting provider has in place. Hosting provider services should meet through third-party audits. These audits present evidence to prove compliance with controls that fall within a specific solution set.
Secure Network Connection
It’s not just about physical security. There must be a secure networking connection. All vulnerabilities related to network routing and connection should be considered.
A quality HIPAA compliance provider can stand out amongst the competition by adding services that present value. Amenities may include workstations, around-the-clock support, access to office equipment, and more.
2. Access to HIPAA Compliance Experts
Any HIPAA security compliance partner you choose should have a team of compliance and security experts. This includes a designated HIPAA compliance officer.
Compliance and security aren’t issues to put on the back burner—they’re a full-time job. So, your provider must have a chief compliance officer or another leadership role in place.
These leaders will face the impact of new laws, as well as IT failures, data privacy issues, and crisis management. They’ll be responsible for actively detecting and preventing misconduct. They’ll also be tasked with navigating the changing HIPAA regulatory landscape.
3. Business Continuity Plan
Before partnering with a HIPAA hosting provider, ask them about their business continuity plan. A business continuity plan is put into place to prevent business interruptions. These interruptions may be caused by natural or man-made disasters.
Ensure that the provider you’re considering has secure offsite backup storage. HIPAA requires that healthcare organizations maintain offsite backups as secure as their infrastructure.
4. Business Associate Agreement
For HIPAA standards to be followed, you and your provider must enter into a business associate agreement (BAA). A BAA must be validated between a HIPAA business associate and a HIPAA-covered entity.
The business associate agreement clearly defines the roles and responsibilities of both parties. This is required to maintain HIPAA compliance.
Under the HIPAA rules, a business associate is directly liable and subject to penalties.
5. Private Cloud Solutions
Ask if the provider you’re considering offers private cloud solutions.
When dealing with sensitive data such as ePHI, a secure cloud environment is essential. In most cases, this is through a private cloud.
Healthcare companies spend a substantial chunk of their IT budgets on maintaining internal IT systems. The right private cloud solution may be the answer to this program. Cloud hosting providers can increase security across entire healthcare enterprises. They can also present savings in labor and hardware.
HIPPA services hosting providers should eliminate the risk of shared clouds. They should also take advantage of virtualization to scale. A custom private cloud solution should come with the right amount of storage for your healthcare organization.
6. Experience With Healthcare Customers
Any HIPAA compliance provider worth working with has experience with healthcare customers.
Ask your potential hosting provider how many of their customers are in the healthcare industry. You should also ask how they approach HIPAA compliance with those customers.
Maintaining HIPAA compliance standards and meeting those demands can be difficult. The providers you consider should be well-versed in serving the needs of healthcare businesses. For example, a cloud storage provider should define the responsibilities for each involved party. Specifically, they must define the roles required to maintain compliance.
7. Establish HIPAA Compliance Training Protocols
A reputable HIPAA compliance hosting provider will ensure that its employees are well-versed in HIPAA-related protocols. However, it shouldn’t stop with initial training. There should be ongoing training initiatives in place to allow the team to learn continually.
Understanding the training protocols and systems in place is essential to evaluating a hosting provider.
Try HIPAA Compliance Services Today
We understand when you need assistance. We also know that you need it to be timely provided in a friendly and knowledgeable way. We also offer a security suite for live training for your staff—both online and webinar training is available.
You can rest easy knowing that your patient information and healthcare data is secure with remote backups that are reliable, secure, and HIPAA compliant. Our technology’s fail-over system keeps your vital operations up and running—even during a total server failure.
We’d love to help you become and stay HIPAA compliant. We provide risk assessment, HIPAA documentation, and HIPAA employee training. Contact us today to see what we can do to help.