Staying HIPAA Compliant and Maintaining the IT Heartbeat of Your Healthcare Business

Pulse Technology Solutions has been providing professional IT support for businesses on a global scale since 2006. Time and experience have helped us develop best practices and workflow procedures surrounded by a proactive philosophy designed to keep your focus on your healthcare business and your patients – not your technology.

In healthcare, the seamless flow of information can literally be the difference between life and death.

With Pulse Technology Solutions as your outsourced IT partner, you will experience:

  • Less Downtime – Faster resolution leads to more productivity
  • Fewer Day-to-Day Issues – Proactive maintenance prevents issues in general
  • More Time – To spend with your patients and running your organization
  • Flat-Rate IT Budget – Know your IT expenses ahead of time, your accounting department will thank you!
  • Infrastructure Protection – Keep your network and devices safe and secure
  • Business Continuity – Through backup and disaster recovery methods and best practices
  • Confidence in Your Systems and Security – Knowing your business is in good hands 24×7.

Our team of experts can become your outsourced IT department or co-manage your IT environment in conjunction with your internal IT team.

We’ll ensure minimal downtime by employing maintenance best practices and responding to issues quickly – often before you even know about them.

Our IT Management for Healthcare organizations covers everything from your servers and network infrastructure, to your computers, workstations, and mobile devices, we provide end-to-end solutions for all your technology needs.

Where did HIPAA Compliance Rules Originate?

In August of 1996, to promote the secure transfer of patient information, President Bill Clinton signed into law the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). At that time, HIPAA stated that the Secretary of Health and Human Services had to publicize official standards for the electronic exchange, privacy, and security of health-related information. It also stated that the Secretary of HHS had the responsibility of issuing regulations if the U.S. Congress didn’t enact privacy and security standards by 1999. Three years later, HHS unveiled the official rules. The healthcare industry is now bound by this code of compliance legislation, and penalties for violations are very severe. Penalties are applicable regardless of intent, so the importance of fully understanding the regulations and adhering to them cannot be overstated. HIPAA compliance is only one of the critical areas where managed IT services from Pulse Technology Solutions can be a huge help to your healthcare organization.

The HIPAA Privacy Rule

The HIPAA Privacy Rule, or the Standards for Privacy of Individually Identifiable Health Information, established protocols for many healthcare providers regarding who has access to patient information. The privacy rule applies to health plans, health care agencies, and any healthcare provider that transmits patient information electronically.

  • Individual and group medical plans that provide or pay the cost of medical care are covered by HIPAA. These plans include health, dental, vision, prescription drug insurers, health maintenance organizations (HMO), Medicare, Medicaid, and other healthcare insurance providers.

The following information is protected under HIPAA’s Privacy rule:

  • An individual’s complete history of their physical and mental health conditions.
  • The treatment or provision to which the individual has access.
  • An individual’s payment information for said health care.

HIPAA Security Rule

The more seamless the transfer of data is, the better it works for business. Unfortunately, there are entities out there looking for opportunities to intercept this information for their own, often nefarious, purposes. Nowhere is data more personal, than in the healthcare industry.

HIPAA’s Security Rule, or Security Standards for the Protection of Electronic Protected Health Information, specifies a series of administered, physical, and technical safeguards for covered parties to guarantee the integrity, real-time availability, and confidentiality of protected electronic healthcare information.

Enforcement & Penalties

Every law needs a ruling entity. HIPAA is no different. In order rules of the HIPAA law to work, the Enforcement Rule is in place for dedicated checks and balances. Currently, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services enforces the HIPAA Security Rule and the Rules covering the standardization of information, while the Privacy concern is handled by The Office of Civil Rights.

Additionally, as a part of the Affordable Care Act of 2010, health plans will be required to certify their compliance. The Act provides for crippling penalties for failures to certify or comply with the new standards and operating rules. These penalties include:

Penalties for General Violations of HIPAA:

  • Each violation: A $100 penalty per violation, with no more than $25,000 in one year for all violations of identical requirements.

Penalties for the Wrongful Disclosure of Individually Identifiable Health Information:

  • For wrongful disclosure: $50,000 penalty, imprisonment for not more than one year, or both.
  • For wrongful disclosure made under false pretenses: $100,000 penalty, imprisonment for not more than five years, or both.
  • For wrongful disclosure made with the intent to sell information: $250,000 penalty, imprisonment of not more than ten years, or both.

In addition to the penalties listed above, covered entities that fail to comply with HIPAA regulations will likely be subject to a loss of credibility, which will likely result in the loss of public trust and revenue.

Not sure where to begin with IT support for your healthcare organization? Contact us now at (239) 362-9902 or info@pulse.tech to learn more about how we can keep you HIPAA compliant and enable you to move your business forward.