HIPAA Security Rule

The aim of the HIPAA security rule is to ensure the protection of the patient information from the apparent security risks in the ever-changing digital world. The rule applies to the covered entities accompanied with their business entities. Three main safeguards have been put in place to ensure that the protection is adequate and that specifications are implemented. All the health organizations, except for the small health plans, are expected to be compliant (US Department of Health and Human Services, 2013). Although the three safeguards are fundamental, it is evident that the administrative safeguards pose the highest risks if not adamantly followed since they are the basis of the other two safeguards (Nelson & Staggers, 2017).

Physical safeguards are implemented to protect the patient data, particularly from theft or damage physically. Technical safeguards, on the other hand, are meant to prevent the unauthorized access to patient data, as well as the electronic threats. The administrative safeguards entail policies, procedures, and actions that are taken in implementing security measures regarding the protection of the patient information (Nelson & Staggers, 2017). This safeguard appears to be the most important among the three as it is the most expansive and without it, the others cannot be executed. The implementation of the administrative safeguard requires standards and specifications (US Department of Health and Human Services, 2013). One of the primary standards is the security management process which requires specifications, such as risk analysis, risk management, sanction policies, as well as the information system activity review. More so, the administrative actions take more than half of the HIPAA regulations since they deal with the execution of the practices for protecting patient information. Therefore, the administrative safeguards create a firm security foundation that enables an organization to be compliant for a long time.

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There is also a requirement of security personnel who is responsible for developing the policies and procedures. The policies implemented aim at preventing, detecting, and containing, as well as correcting safety violations. This is indeed the groundwork of the HIPAA rule, and it ensures that the physical and technical protections are implemented properly (Nelson & Staggers, 2017). Therefore, applying a comprehensive security foundation regarding information access, workforce security, and the security management processes, the covered entity will be better prepared against the occurrences of breaches and their impacts altogether (Martin, Imboden, & Green, 2015).  For the covered entity to assess the effectiveness of the security measures, periodic assessment has to be carried out.

Organizations are expected to set policies to ensure that they perform evaluation based on the standards implemented. If the covered entity does not execute the plans, the organization will be prone to the highest level of risk. An administrative case that demonstrates that indeed is the most important of all is in the event an employee in the organization decides to conduct acts of malice or neglect towards the patients’ health information privacy. However, such a case can be prevented if there are officers who have been charged with the responsibility of overseeing security (Martin, Imboden, & Green, 2015). Also, if the staff is properly trained, such occurrences may be prevented. Besides, an organization ought to have written policies that dictate how compliance is managed. More so, the workforce ought to be full aware of the safeguards to prevent the acts of negligence. The implementation of the physical and technical safeguards is dependent on the policies which are described in the administrative safeguard.

 

References

Martin, N. L., Imboden, T., & Green, D. T. (2015). HIPAA security rule compliance in small healthcare facilities: A theoretical framework. Issues in Information Systems, 16(1), 180-188.

Nelson, R., & Staggers, N. (2017). Health Informatics: An Interprofessional Approach. Elsevier Health Sciences.

US Department of Health and Human Services. (2013). Summary of the HIPAA security rule.

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