You know why a HIPAA compliant website matters if you work in the healthcare industry. HIPAA, which means the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act in full, has various regulations. It requires that an entity handling customer data, also known as patient health information (PHI), keeps it private and safe from being compromised.
The world is moving online, and cybersecurity is becoming a concern. Businesses should be at the forefront to ensure their customers are safe. You might not know how to build a HIPAA compliant website as a business owner. So, this post looks into how you can do it today.
Let’s get started on the best HIPAA website compliance tips
1. Choose Your Web Hosting Carefully
The web hosting you choose for your website matters. If you want to build a HIPAA compliance website, start by choosing the right web host. This means finding a web host that is also compliant with HIPAA regulations.
Remember that it is the web host that gets targeted first. So, it serves as your first line of defense. It is important that your web host is reliable enough to keep PHI safe.
There are HIPAA rules put in place for web hosting providers to follow. First, they need to do regular scans and updates to ensure safety. Also, they must resolve security issues within 48 hours as per the rules. If a web host doesn’t comply with these rules, move on to another.
2. Have an SSL Certificate
One way to create a secure website and maintain HIPAA compliance is to have an SSL certificate. For beginners, an SSL certificate is a digital authentication for the website’s identity and its ability to encrypt connections. Therefore, Google marks websites that have an SSL as secure.
The SSL or secure socket layers link a website to a server. When your website queries the server, some data gets transmitted. The same happens when the server sends a response. An SSL encrypts the data getting transmitted not to be accessible to a third party.
3. Backup Data
Backups provide much-needed data security. They store a copy of every file on the cloud or a computer. As a business owner, you need to back up your data in readiness for emergencies. This includes business data and the sensitive customer data you gather online.
HIPAA rules require setting up a data backup service for your website. This will help prevent you from complete data loss if there’s a security breach. As said before, a secure cloud service can allow for data backups. An alternative is to consider having a local data backup.
4. Restrict Access to Services
As a business, you have a lot of services to manage. One mistake many companies make is allowing their staff to access what they don’t need. It is always a good idea to limit access to services staff need. That’s one factor that will determine if your website is HIPAA compliant.
You need to restrict access to protected health information (PHI). Also, you can limit online access to mitigate cyber threats. You can use different tools to restrict access to your website. For instance, you can install firewalls to filter traffic. Having a proxy server can also play a significant role.
5. HIPAA Compliance Training
You may invest in your website’s security but get exposed to threats. This is so if you do not train your team on HIPAA regulations. A simple mistake from one of your staff could expose your entire network. Thus, everyone with access to your systems needs HIPAA training.
There’s a lot to learn about when undertaking HIPAA compliance training. They can know the HIPAA privacy rule and get a deeper understanding of the patient privacy act. Also, they will acquire knowledge of privacy laws in healthcare. This can also help them grow in their careers.
6. Insist on a Business Associate Contract
HIPAA rules do not only target businesses with websites. They are also concerned with third parties that handle PHI. These third parties are called business associates under the HIPAA rules and regulations.
HIPAA requires these third parties to also comply with the rules in keeping PHI safe and uncompromised. If you plan to work with another firm, ensure your potential partner is HIPAA compliant as well.
One way to ensure this is to get the agreement in writing. This way, you can have a legal hold on the business associates you’re getting in business with.
7. Have Systems for Handling PHI
Handling PHI is a process that involves various steps. The steps range from accepting, storing, and transmitting PHI. Also, do not forget that deleting PHI is also an important step. Some firms do not invest in systems that can make managing PHI a seamless task.
You need to ensure your team doesn’t collect PHI and expose it to criminals. A good example is when a physician leaves a tablet on their desk unattended and unsecured. You cannot be HIPAA compliant if you do not have systems to protect PHI from exposure to criminals.
8. Encrypt and Secure Web Forms
Businesses use web forms to collect important customer data. They can use this data to build their email lists and market products or services. But there’s a need to secure the customer details shared through web forms. You need to ensure you have encrypted and secured them for data transfer.
Your website won’t be HIPAA compliant if you don’t encrypt your web forms. As said before, the HIPAA cyber security measures seek to protect healthcare clients. Website tools like web forms and chatbots need security. Investing in their encryption will make your site HIPAA compliant.
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act works for the good of business and their clients. Both parties can lose sensitive data if they get exposed to a cyberattack. Understanding the purpose of HIPAA and ensuring your website design follows HIPAA rules will help.
This article has put together tips to follow when building your website. You can use it as a HIPAA security rule checklist for your web development. It will help you get started and stick to HIPAA privacy law. In the end, it will help build customer trust and confidence in your business.