IT Compliance Issues in Healthcare

Healthcare compliance issues affect every kind of medical facility—regardless of size. Large and small healthcare companies must adhere to rules and government regulations in order to protect individuals and their private information.

As you know, healthcare guidelines, compliance laws, and government regulations are ever-changing. It can be a lot to keep up with. This is why you should work with a managed service provider (MSP) who has experience, and can understand the ins and outs of healthcare compliance laws. These IT experts help you stay up to date so you can protect your most valuable asset: your patients.

IT services in healthcare is the tool necessary to ensure your agency is compliant in every area, and functioning at its highest level.

What Is Regulatory Compliance in Healthcare?

Essentially, healthcare compliance is a multi-layered system of checks and balances. Federal agencies put this system in place to promote quality of care and protect beneficiaries of Medicare, Medicaid, and other programs from fraud, abuse, and waste.

Maintaining HIPAA Compliance

Staying in compliance with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) should be at the very top of the list for healthcare providers. While it’s vital to maintain compliance with HIPAA, it can be pretty challenging. In fact, The U.S. Department of Health and Human Service found organizations non-compliant with HIPAA in 70 percent of its investigations. Several factors make remaining HIPAA-compliance a challenge for healthcare organizations, including:

Ransomware Attacks/Data Breaches

Ransomware attacks at healthcare organizations like Anthem have compromised millions of Americans’ personal information and can cost the company millions of dollars in fines. As healthcare agencies continue to be a target of cybercriminals, the breaches are getting worse. Data shows that in 2020 there was a 25% increase in healthcare data breaches.

Data Loss

Data loss occurs when failures during storage, processing, or transmission, destroy information. It can occur deliberately (malware, or hijacking), or inadvertently (due to human error), or when devices are stolen or lost. The consequences of these incidents for healthcare organizations can be devastating. 

If extremely sensitive data, including personal information, financial data, or results from clinical exams, ends up in the wrong hands, it could be used for phishing attacks, blackmail, and even fraud. When patient data is lost, vital healthcare procedures are likely delayed, since important decisions are made based on vital notes, and records.

Protecting Personal Health Information

The majority of healthcare breaches result from the theft or loss of protected health information. This can happen from a ransomware attack, virus, or when physical laptops and documents are stolen. This is why encrypting personal health information is so vital; so even if the information winds up in the wrong hands, they can’t decode it.

How an MSP Can Help

There are several things an MSP must do to ensure your organization remains in compliance, including the development of:

  • Policies and procedures that provide employees with guidance on compliance, best practices, standards, and changes.
  • Incentives to promote employee compliance.
  • Plans to improve or sustain compliance. 
  • Metrics to measure the execution, by management in particular, of the compliance program.
  • Reports and dashboards to help management and board members evaluate how effective the program is and if it requires any changes.

Overcoming Compliance Issues in Healthcare

Healthcare compliance is extensive, and multiple federal agencies govern the healthcare sector. In addition, each state has its own unique set of rules. You cannot assume you can handle this task alone. 

When you ensure your healthcare agency is compliant, you improve patient outcomes because your organization will work together to make decisions based on appropriate, and up-to-date medical standards. 

To learn more about how Wave Technologies can help your healthcare organization with IT services that keep you compliant, contact us today.