With the deadline for complying with HIPAA Omnibus Rule requirements now behind us, it's time to look ahead.Compliant cloud hosting can keep you aligned with HIPAA regulations in the face of new legal challenges. Here's a look at what to expect for 2014.
The OCR's deputy director stated at the HIMSS conference last month that HIPAA compliance audits would resume in 2014. The OCR expects to aggressively enforce HIPAA regulations to protect patient data, and we will surely see more penalties as a result.
HIPAA compliance will also come under scrutiny during meaningful use audits this year. Compliance with HIPAA regulations is one of the attestations recipients must make, and you must have documented proof of this or face repayment.
Focus on Risk Assessments
Two thirds of audited entities had no complete and accurate risk assessment, according to an OCR presentation posted late last year. Expect risk assessment to be a focus of HIPAA compliance audits. HIPAA penalties for other compliance violations are also likely to be higher if an adequate risk assessment wasn't in place.
A thorough risk analysis is the foundation of a company's data protection program, and without it you cannot comply with HIPAA regulations. This isn't a one-time activity, either – you need to keep it updated and ensure periodic review.
Increased customer awareness
More and more high-profile, large scale data breaches are making headlines, and making consumers aware of how vulnerable they can be. Consumers are becoming more familiar with HIPAA regulations, too, and are going to be more demanding when it comes to their health data, especially as mobile device use increases.
Litigation – not just fines
The threat of HIPAA fines for non-compliance will increase as more businesses are scrutinized, but victims may also be more likely to seek compensation for privacy and security violations. After a successful $1.4 million civil case for a PHI breach last year, we can expect more such cases to come to trial.
More moves to the cloud
HIPAA compliant cloud hosting can be the most solid healthcare IT solution when it comes to ensuring data security – depending on your provider. If an IT company has experience complying with HIPAA regulations, and a dedicated compliance staff, they can provide a technically superior, fully compliant system more effectively than most companies are able to do in house.
Experience is the key to HIPAA compliance when making the move to cloud hosting. While current, state of the art technology is crucial, there's a lot more required to ensure compliance. This isn't something a big IT firm can just sign you up for and tell you you're covered. Remember that if you are subject to HIPAA regulations, you're responsible for your HIPAA hosting provider's practices, too.
ByteGrid is the leader in HIPAA compliant cloud hosting. Contact us today and stay and find out why an experienced HIPAA hosting provider can give you the best compliance solution.