Businesses operating in the healthcare industry take in lots of sensitive and vital information about their patients on a regular basis. Healthcare files contain critical notes for doctors and medical professionals to use. For instance, one person’s file may indicate an allergy to penicillin, and based on that information, doctors can then alter their treatment plan for them accordingly. Because these data sets are so sensitive and important, there are a number of government organizations that monitor and regulate their use. Here, we’ll take a look at IT compliance in the healthcare industry and explain everything you need to know about this topic:
Compliance vs Security
IT compliance involves professionals taking steps with data usage to ensure they meet the standards of an external body –– such as HIPAA or CMS (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services). IT security, meanwhile, refers to the process of protecting a healthcare organization’s assets –– particularly its data relating to patient care. Healthcare IT security measures prevent information from being compromised by hackers. Adjacent to IT security is quality control –– i.e. updating and editing data sets to reflect new information. You can even consider this a form of “internal” security.
Healthcare Compliance Organizations
Businesses in the healthcare industry have to remain compliant to multiple organizations. The most high-profile regulating body in this field is HIPAA –– which protects patient confidentiality. This refers to the confidential transfer, collection and use of patient information. In another sense, HIPAA regulations prevent medical professionals from violating patient privacy. (A blatant example of a HIPAA violation may be someone posting confidential patient info on a social media page. However, there are more subtle HIPAA violations that medical professionals may accidentally commit in the transference of data from one facility to another).
HIPAA, though, is not the only healthcare regulatory organization. In addition, healthcare companies must also contend with other groups such as The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology and CMS, which oversee different aspects of electronic health report (EHR) usage (including the transition of paper documents into EHRs).
Healthcare companies cannot solely rely on EHR vendors to adhere to IT compliance and security measures on their own. Rather, if they want to improve their compliance internally, they must:
- Train their staff to use EHRs and data
- Personalize EHRs
- Develop a company culture based on problem-solving and compliance
Benefits of Strong Healthcare IT Compliance
Even though healthcare businesses must adhere to certain compliance standards to avoid legal penalties, there are many more benefits associated with strong data compliance than just avoiding punishment. First, healthcare organizations that take great care in handling EHRs and data themselves reduce the risk of mistakes occurring in data implementation. Involving team members in the process of collecting, curating and editing EHRs will likely lead to improved internal processes. This in and of itself presents several key advantages, including more efficient use of time and resources and improved patient experiences.
Businesses operating in the healthcare industry often use large data sets that contain diverse amounts of crucial, sensitive information. At Amitech, we understand the needs and challenges of businesses in this field because we’ve been working with them for years to manage and optimize their data analysis and storage methods. Contact us here for more information.