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4 Features of the Security Rule of HIPAA

April 20, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 249

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) contains several laws wherein each set addresses different issued faced by all the concerned parties in the matters of healthcare and insurance. Laws for ensuring that an individual continues to have a health cover even in the event of changing jobs and the Privacy Rules for protecting the patient's health information are fairly well known, however another set of HIPAA laws called the Rules which work quietly in the background for protecting electronic information are equally vital. Due to the changing scenario of the healthcare industry and wider adoption of the electronic medium, Security Rules have gained tremendous importance in recent times.

The following points will tell you more about HIPAA's Security Rule.

• Need For Security Rule: For a very long time HIPAA has been promoting the implementation of electronic medium for managing data. Some of the advantages projected include lesser paperwork, reduced administrative cost, and better safety of data. Thanks to the persistent encouragement of HIPAA the use of the electronic media gradually increased and as a result today a majority of the entities are using this medium on a large scale. However using the electronic medium for storing and transacting data has given rise to newer threats and risks of unauthorized access, which prompted HIPAA to introduce Security Rules to provide the required guidelines for managing electronic data. Thus the Security Rule came into effect in the year 2003.

• Protected Data: All the health information of the patient that can lead to identifying the individual are protected under the Security Rule provided the data is in the electronic form. Such information is collectively referred to as the electronic protected health information (EPHI). All scenarios where the EPHI is created, transmitted, received or stored by the covered entities fall under this rule. But remember that the these Rule does not cover any kind of data that is on paper or which is communicated verbally.

• Safeguards: The Rules of HIPAA require the covered entities to undertake a number of different safeguards to protect the EPHI at every level. This includes Administrative safeguards where the entities must identify the risks and frame policies accordingly to protect the data. Physical safeguards will ensure that sufficient measures are taken for the security of the equipments including restricted physical access to such areas. And lastly the technical safeguard makes sure that the integrity of the data is preserved and can be accessed or transmitted by authorized personnel and entities only.

• Flexibility: Rules require that each entity take the necessary safeguards according to the threats anticipated by them. However since the sizes of different entities may differ greatly the rules have adopted a more flexible approach that allows each entity to analyze their particular need based on factors like size and resources so as to scale the rules and make them feasible for implementation.

Security Rules are to be followed by all the covered entities and any willful breach will invite penalties just as in the case of the other laws of HIPAA.

For more information, please visit our HIPAA website.

Source: EzineArticles
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