How to Follow HIPAA Rules When Working From Home?

Web development
Oct 17, 2023
4 Mins Read
How to Follow HIPAA Rules When Working From Home?

Remote work has increased in popularity over the last few years, drastically changing the traditional workplace. Following the COVID-19 pandemic, telecommuting and remote work policies were widely implemented in the US, along with office closures. While some employees have gone back to work, the majority continue to perform their duties away from the office. Telehealth services now face additional HIPAA Compliance challenges as a result of this change.

Advantages

Data breaches can be avoided or reduced if remote workers are held to the same standards as office workers. HIPAA recommends that covered entities and business partners who work remotely use secure remote access software for storing and monitoring ePHI. The benefits of HIPAA compliance for remote work are as follows.

  • Get customized solutions
  • Provide telehealth services
  • End-to-End encryption
  • HIPAA Compliant Messaging
  • Reduced Legal Risk
  • Patient consent for telehealth
  • Provide consistent security
  • Data encryption standards
  • Use of Versatile applications

How to Maintain HIPAA Compliance When Working From a Distance

It is essential to remember that remote work policies do not automatically constitute an unauthorized violation of any of the HIPAA guidelines

Even before the pandemic made remote work necessary, this was a reality. However, HIPAA compliance in remote work environments requires additional measures and concerns.

Restricting Access for Workers

Managing who has access to sensitive information is crucial for HIPAA compliance when working remotely. Employees shouldn’t have access to protected materials or patient data unless they perform work that requires it. Because of this restriction, the likelihood of a widespread security breach is greatly diminished.

Secure Access with VPNs, Strong Passwords, and Multi-Factor Authentication

Using the proper means of communication is essential. Sensitive information should not be transmitted via social media or other open-source platforms but rather via those that are HIPAA-compliant.

Protected Health Information (PHI) and patient data must be kept safe by using sophisticated privacy measures in the chosen communication tools.

Multi-factor authentication (MFA), Strong Passwords, and a Virtual Private Network (VPN) are all great ways to keep your account safe.

Keeping access protected is of utmost importance. It all starts with a strong password. 

Multi-factor authentication (MFA) should also be used by staff to increase login security. 

Using Appropriate Tools

Tools and apps can be used to implement multi-factor authentication like-

  • Google Authenticator 
  • Telecommuting Devices
  • Secure VPN
  • End-to-End Encryption
  • HIPAA Compliant Messaging

Virtual private networks (VPNs) might be mandated for use by staff members to increase overall safety. By creating an encrypted private network within a company, Secure VPN further protects information while in transit.

Use Encryption for Your Data

End-to-end encryption is essential to safeguarding sensitive data like Protected Health Information (PHI). Data encryption standards are a mechanism used to prevent unauthorized parties from accessing sensitive information.

Methods for Improving HIPAA Compliance in IT Departments

IT departments play an essential part in improving HIPAA compliance in telecommuting settings by using Telecommuting devices. Setting up a VPN connection is a necessary first move.

  • All off-site hardware must use the VPN, which must be kept up-to-date and closely monitored to guarantee security. 
  • To avoid congestion, Secure VPN should be tested frequently, especially after adding new devices or user accounts for employees.
  • Not only should distant devices have VPN connectivity, but they should also have up-to-date antivirus and firewall software with automatic updates.
  • In order to further strengthen security, IT departments can require multi-factor authentication when accessing data from remote devices.

Keeping Confidential Information Safe: The Role of Employees

All employees must do their part to protect sensitive patient information. Specific steps can be taken to safeguard patients’ medical records.

  • Protect sensitive information by encrypting and password-protecting all devices.
  • Connect only from secure, password-protected routers and modems.
  • Please encrypt all forms containing sensitive information before submitting them.
  • Avoid printing PHI; maintain it securely and shred it when no longer needed.
  • If you really must send Protected Health Information (PHI) over email, you should encrypt the message.
  • When storing sensitive information, only use external storage devices sanctioned by the IT department.
  • Employees, whether they are at an actual workplace or working remotely, must comply with HIPAA compliance. These standards can be easily implemented across all gadgets, and they improve the safety of remote workplaces. Keeping up with HIPAA regulations as the nature of work changes is important for protecting patients’ privacy and sensitive information.
Wrapping It Up

With the increasing popularity of remote work and telehealth services, it is imperative to maintain the same standards for data security and privacy as those found in traditional healthcare settings. Following HIPAA regulations and implementing secure access and communication protocols are two ways remote workers can safeguard the confidentiality and security of patient information. In order to safeguard patients’ private information and ensure that sensitive medical data is transferred and stored securely, even in online settings, HIPAA compliance is essential for remote workers.

FAQs

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