Don’t risk paying $50,000 for a single business violation!

Business owners must be aware of all the regulations that affect their business. If you do not, you may wind up with hefty penalties. Unfavorable blows like these might cause your business to end. Understanding HIPAA compliance is the first step you need if you collect personal identifiable information (PII).

Data privacy standards have become even more strict than before, requiring careful compliance to avoid fines and penalties. Healthcare is the fastest-growing sector and one of the most vulnerable to data privacy violations. Around 268,189,693 healthcare records have been at stake when data was mishandled.

With this vulnerability, HIPAA was created. Understanding the HIPAA law on data collection will save you from violating these requirements.

What is HIPAA?

HIPAA stands for Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, was enacted in 1996. Deliberately designed to protect patient information privacy, the law mandates that all PHI (Protected Health Information) only be available to those who have been authorized to see it. The law protects patients by maintaining the confidentiality of their medical records. The patient should have the right to determine who can view and review their records. Furthermore, the law defends businesses from unfair allegations by legalizing practices. Healthcare protocols are outlined and those who fail to follow them are penalized severely.

What does it mean to be HIPAA compliant?

Any organization that handles PHI must adhere to HIPAA requirements. HIPAA compliance means protecting the privacy, integrity, and availability of Protected Health Information.

HIPAA rules are as follows:

Being HIPAA compliant means adhering to HIPAA compliance rules and applying them to your organization. Compliance is not a one-stop checklist but a continual process of medical data privacy.

How serious is a HIPAA violation?

HIPAA violation is serious. Not only will you incur a large fine and tarnish your business’s reputation, but you could also go to jail. A HIPAA violation occurs when a healthcare organization fails to follow any aspect of HIPAA standards. If you break the HIPAA regulations, you might be severely penalized financially (a big NO-NO for business!) and even go to jail. The attorney general for the state can issue fines ranging from $50,000 per offense to a maximum of $1.5 million per year.

Frequently infringed HIPAA rules include:

  1. Unauthorized disclosure of protected health information (PHI).
  2. Disposing of PHI improperly.
  3. Gaining access to PHI from vendors without a business associate agreement.
  4. Unauthorized release of PHI to individuals unqualified to receive the data.
  5. Failing to notify the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) of a security breach involving PHI within 60 days of the discovery of the breach.

Are online forms affected by HIPAA compliance?

When the COVID crisis urged most businesses to transform digitally, online forms took over the paper forms. The web forms now collect the patient data used by healthcare providers. Therefore it is mandatory to have HIPAA compliance in contact forms, medical record forms, and other online forms.

To avoid HIPAA violations, businesses should use HIPAA compliant forms. EmailMeForm offers HIPAA Compliance (and other global data privacy regulations like PCI and GDPR) under compliance plans. Forms created with HIPAA features enabled safeguards the data you collect under compliance grade infrastructure. Most importantly, sensitive information is encrypted when it is transmitted and stored.

What HIPAA features should I use with my forms?

Learning the stringency of HIPAA law may turn you into a business owner walking on eggshells (debating if what you do complies). Have no doubt that the features provided by a HIPAA-compliant web form builder can help you follow the regulations all well. Your online forms can use these features to complete your safe data collection.

  1. Should a message be intercepted, ensure its content cannot be read, so the ePHI cannot be inappropriately disclosed. Use field encryption when creating a form.
    EmailMeForm has a new feature dedicated to HIPAA Compliance. When this is enabled, all fields are encrypted by default.
  2. Implement strict access by using multi-factor authentication.
    EmailMeForm requires compliance account users to set up MFA or Multi-Factor Authentication to ensure increased security for both you and your form users.
  3. Store uploaded files or documents with encrypted cloud storage.
    EmailMeForm allows your users to submit files- Excel file, image, or any other media- by adding the File Upload field to your HIPAA compliant intake forms.
  4. More than HIPAA, adhere to PCI as well when collecting online payments using your user’s credit card.
    EmailMeForm is a PCI Certified form solution. Securely collect full cc details using Vault. You may also collect online payments through major payment gateways by using form integrations.
  5. Restrict access to your form from the public.
    EmailMeForm makes sure that only authorized users can view forms. Password-protect your forms to counter information theft effectively.

EmailMeForm tips for a HIPAA compliance

Now that you better understand HIPAA Compliance let EmaiMeForm help your journey towards creating HIPAA compliant forms. We recommend the following:

  1. Upgrade account for compliance features. Use a strong password that meets compliance standards.
  2. Enable Muti-Factor Authentication
  3. Take steps to keep PII and PHI encrypted, use masked transmission so data will only be accessible when logged into your account.
  4. Setup login access for each team member you are working with. Take advantage of your HIPAA compliant form builder Audit trail features to monitor account access.

Takeaway

Although data privacy regulations prove to evolve, there is no need for businesses to be alarmed. It merely demands that you keep on your toes and be compliant as much as possible.

A considerable part of the healthcare industry has now turned to virtual, even appointments that require in-person visits have resorted to digital booking. HIPAA Compliance is a must to protect your business and patients.

create HIPAA compliant online forms

Author Jennifer Poblete

Jennifer Poblete

Jennifer is an electronics engineer who loves writing as much as she loves numbers. She enjoys eating and a slice of pizza makes her happy.

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