The Data Confidentiality Law in Healthcare

The Data Confidentiality Law in Healthcare

In the second year of the pandemic, 2021, the healthcare industry saw an increase in data breaches, up from 34 million in 2020 to 45 million in 2021. Unfortunately, these numbers have tripled in just three years. Starting from 14 million in 2018, according to a report from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

If you are in the healthcare business, you must’ve been overwhelmed by patient data after the surge in COVID cases. Whenever health information is concerned, it becomes important to safeguard it from data thieves. Health data identifies your customers personally, all their health conditions, medications, history, and compliance. 

As an owner of a healthcare organization, your enterprise must be aware of how health laws and compliances work, to whom it applies, and their importance. 

Data Confidentiality Law

Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act regulates how healthcare entities record, store, manage and share a US citizen’s private and personal medical information. Entities associated directly or indirectly with healthcare data need to meet the federal regulatory compliance rules defined by HIPAA. These entities could be health insurers, health tech startups, and healthcare organizations.

But why should you care about this law? HIPAA mainly focuses on protected health information (PHI). In simpler terms, if your organization handles patient records (past or present), payment information, or test results, chances are, you’re working with PHI. 


Importance of Health Data Privacy

In case you are not compliant with HIPAA, it can cost you millions of dollars. Additionally, failing to meet HIPAA security requirements can lead to health data breaches that go beyond financial loss. Complying with HIPAA is a shared responsibility between healthcare entities and data organizations or departments. Some useful ways data companies ensure HIPAA compliance

  1. Monitor and identify unusual access behavior with predictive analytics.
  2. Enforce access policies and apply controls to all applications containing PHI.
  3. Locate and secure structured and unstructured ePHI regardless of where they’re stored.
  4. Automate periodic reviews of user access rights.

In conclusion, a strong governance policy for your healthcare data is extremely crucial. The healthcare industry deals with an enormous amount of personal health information, and without a way to govern who has access, how they got access, and the plethora of risks that present, it’s hard to manage and protect the data. A data governance framework could help healthcare organizations securely share data, grant user permissions, and manage health data throughout the patient lifecycle.


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