Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act [HIPAA] - Importance of HIPAA

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Importance of HIPAA

a) HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) is a vital act specially meant for healthcare professionals. It is an act for the benefit of medical professionals/ doctors and patients. It provides protection to them. As discussed above, HIPAA is separated into two titles. The first title protects the coverage provided by health insurance policy covers for both – employees and the families/dependants of these employees. The second title which is also known as the Administrative Simplification ensures protection of data pertaining to the personal information about the employees and their families/dependants and maintaining their confidentiality. It ensures that the personal data is prevented from become public unless if it is absolutely necessary or required.

b) The main focus of the Administrative Simplification section of HIPAA bill is to minimize expenditure on healthcare spending. It has been whole-heartedly supported by the healthcare industry because it has resulted in standardization of online electronic transactions that constitute required standard record formats, code sets and identifiers.

c) Due to the impact of Electronic Standardization, there was an increased risk to security confidentiality and privacy of individually identifiable health information. HIPAA and the importance of the web has clearly steered healthcare’s E-commerce Re-engineering with special emphasis on the administrative simplification provisions that includes benefits, costs and penalties. These provisions incorporate electronic signature, national identifiers, transactions and code sets, privacy, and security.

d) Importance of maintaining the highly sensitive information regarding the patients is essential as such data can be used against such individuals in case the database gets hacked, corrupted or stolen. The internal data of any organization is highly confidential and is vulnerable to attacks and viruses. On account of occurrence of such attacks, the business activities of an organization can be harmed to a great extent, that includes their highly valuable clientele, who instill deep faith by disclosing their individual details that are highly confidential in nature. Such confidential details are disclosed to a healthcare service provider on the condition of protecting such data. HIPAA addresses all these facts to overcome the shortcomings involved in the process. Due to the public disclosure of personal data without obtaining the prior permission of that individual can result in losing the goodwill of not only the existing clients but also the trust of the prospective clients. As a result, the market value of that particular organization is greatly affected. Recently, numerous incidents of data breaches have occurred that have included multinational companies, large organizations etc. For overcoming such shortfalls, better security controls are desired which are addressed by HIPAA.

e) There are many effective ways of assessing the security and safety of your internal data. Many essential tools like a network security audit tool helps in monitoring the data shared by the company with its clients and vendors. It determines whether the networks with which an individual or an organization is sharing the data with are secure or can be attacked. The network security audit system keeps on carrying out routine checks of the application system and also keeps a tab on the security level of the networks through which the data is transferred. In case the medium is prone to numerous attacks, then secure configurations with alert facilities are made readily available across all networks. The assessment can also help in detecting existing loopholes in the process and it transmits constant alerts in case of any sort of intrusion detected on the server. In case of security and safety regarding healthcare data and databases, such issues are adequately addressed by HIPAA.

It is recommended to install a firewall in the network systems so as to ensure protection of the network system from possible attacks by hackers. In addition, it is also advisable to update Anti-Virus Software from time-to-time so as to prevent these attacks that eventually leads to destruction of the data completely or partially. In turn, this results in the image of such companies getting tarnished, accompanied with a bad reputation. In order to avoid such a situation from arising, it must be mandatory to install aforesaid tools, including adherence to HPAA, so that the public feels secured while sharing their personal details. It was recently announced to make HIPAA a compulsory and mandatory rule for all the healthcare organizations. This is on account of a recent spurt in the incidents of data breaches that have assumed alarming proportions day-by-day, that involve huge amounts as penalty or fines for non-compliance regarding protection of the data in a secured manner.

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