In the United States, HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) provides several regulations that govern how certain pieces of personally identifiable information are stored and transmitted between different groups of people or institutions.
How does it affect your company? If you operate a website, you should know how HIPAA will affect it.
What Are the Details of the HIPAA Privacy Rule?
The HIPAA Privacy Rule is laid out to help ensure that personal health information (PHI) isn’t inappropriately disclosed to unauthorized people. As such, the rule does several things:
It limits who can access PHI and what they can do with it. It also limits who can have access to records about your use of health services, payments for those services, and other non-PHI. This includes your name, address, and certain other personally identifiable information (PII) that can be used to identify you. And it limits what can be done with PHI and how it can be used after it’s been disclosed.
What Is HIPAA Law Compliance?
Business Associates (BAs) and Covered Entities (CEs) under HIPAA must comply with the HIPAA Privacy and Security Rules. A Business Associate, or BA, is any entity that provides goods or services to a Covered Entity. A Business Associate is not a Covered Entity but an agent of a Covered Entity.
Typically, BAs include IT companies such as developers and registration data aggregators, health insurance agencies, or other organizations helping to conduct or manage transactions for covered entities.
How Can My Website Be HIPAA-Compliant?
Protecting all patient identifiers is an important part of HIPAA compliance. Healthcare website design must also consider a patient’s health information and how it is being handled on your website. Typically, a “HIPAA-compliant” website has the following features:
Use of an SSL Certificate
The use of SSL certificates is the most important thing to add security to your website. An SSL certificate will encrypt sensitive data before it is transferred. A fresh login screen or page will be shown to visitors every time they visit your website. If hackers were to try and intercept data, they would be unable to view any confidential information without the proper encryption keys.
HIPAA-compliant websites often use an SSL to secure all traffic between the client and the server. This allows CEs to transmit patient records and other health information through a secure connection to business associates and partners. Furthermore, HIPAA contains extremely stringent rules regarding the transmission of medical data over the Internet.
Encrypted Web Forms
The use of web forms on your website is a crucial component of any online business. Still, you must guarantee that the information submitted by users is encrypted before it reaches its destination. This means that the data will be encoded using a third-party encryption library.
Use of Business Associate Agreements
HIPAA is a federal act, but the law also recognizes that some entities are responsible for managing certain relationships with covered entities. In other words, some entities can be considered Business Associates. Your site must identify these Business Associates and what they can do to help protect your data from unauthorized access and breach.
Use of Secure User Authentication
It is essential to require your site visitors to sign in using a username and password. Do not use any other authentication method, such as IP address recognition or click tracking. Hackers or foreign governments can easily compromise these methods of recognizing site visitors.
Benefits of A HIPAA Compliant Website
If you want to make sure that your website looks good, works well, and is secure, there’s something you should know: HIPAA compliance is important for a lot of reasons.
HIPAA is a government act that has been in effect since 2003. SSL certificates ensure that users and visitors will have a secure experience when they visit your site. It also protects you from being hacked via cyberattacks and having your data leaked to the public.
Because HIPAA is a government act, people and customers will have increased trust in your company, knowing it follows the law.
You can also receive protection for damages if you are sued for violating HIPAA guidelines. If a business associate causes damage to your website or causes a breach in security, you can receive protection under the HIPAA guidelines.
HIPAA compliance is an absolute necessity in today’s online business industry. If you choose not to follow HIPAA guidelines, you could lose your ability to operate legally and face severe penalties. It takes a lot of time and works to design a HIPAA-compliant website, but it’s well worth it.