Introduction

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) is an american law and its purpose is setting privacy standards regarding the protection of medical files and other patient information that are provided to doctors, medical facilities, and other healthcare providers.

The HIPAA includes regulations such as provision for taking measures to protect medical data transmitted through hospital servers and maintenance of policies addressing patient data protection.

What Policies does the HIPAA contain and why is it Important?

The three rules of HIPAA, which form the regulations are Privacy, Security and Breach Notification.

  • Privacy

The privacy rule addresses the protection of individuals’ medical records. According to this rule, entities must maintain certain policies, which regulate how and when they can share a person’s protected health information (PHI). It defines what data is considered PHI, which organizations must follow the HIPAA and sets limits about how PHI can be used.

The HIPAA also addresses the rights of the patients over their PHI and the insurance that an organization will not use information that can be used to identify an individual without their permission. The privacy rule applies not only to health providers, but also to business associates that are in charge of transactions for these organizations.

  • Security

The security rule addresses how an entity must protect an individual’s PHI. In fact, it sets standards concerning companies that use ePHI, personal health information that they store digitally. These standards set the following requirements for healthcare providers:

  1. Insurance that ePHI is truthful, confidential and available
  2. Adequate protection of ePHI from security threats
  3. Employee training regarding compliance with the security rule
  4. Maintenance of policies concerning compliance with the security rule
  5. Insurance that ePHI is not shared without permission

Furthermore, the security rule enforces risk reduction in order to keep ePHI as safe as possible. It requires entities to identify the risk, maintain a risk management plan, install safeguards to avoid the risks, document the process, perform regular risk assessments.

  • Breach Notification

In case a security breach happens, health providers must notify the individuals whose PHI may have been compromised and the proper authorities within 60 days. Any disclosure of personal health information that the security rule does not allow, is considered a security breach.

Violations of the HIPAA can result to financial penalties and other consequences, such as terminations or criminal charges. The seriousness of the consequences is based on the perceived level of negligence.

Logstail’s Contribution

Logstail contributes by assessing and ensuring an organization’s compliance with the HIPAA via its log management and cyber security platform. The platform enables the organization to monitor every user-related action related to the HIPAA on systems, websites or servers.

Logstail ensures HIPAA compliance by collecting logs, checking file integrity, detecting intrusions, and providing real-time alerting and active response. It also provides dashboards and graphs, which depict company information in real time. Logstail allows filtering by different types of fields, including compliance controls.

The platform contains out of the box rules to test the compliance with the most important requirements of the HIPAA, but the user can manually add more requirements if they deem necessary. Some of the most common default rules include 164.312.b (Standard: Audit controls) and 164.312.a.1 (Standard: Access control).HIPAA monitoring enables the user to early detect a security breach or any changes to the organization’s systems that lead to the non-compliance with the regulations.

Another feature that Logstail provides the user with is its alerting system. If something happens that can risk the personal data in possession of an organization, such as a security breach, the user can choose to be notified immediately.

Conclusion

In summary, the HIPAA was created because of the need of protection of patients’ personal health information. Every healthcare provider must be compliant with the HIPAA. This is not only because this type of data is very sensitive. If an organization is not compliant, there can be significant penalties. Monitoring logs that are related to the HIPAA is a very efficient way to ensure that your company is compliant with the regulations.

Logstail provides a complete log management solution which is necessary for every organization and brings this functionality to your hands. Now you can convert your data into actionable insights with just some tweaks and prevent performance and security issues. You can maximize the performance of your infrastructure or be notified of potential problems to take the appropriate actions.

In Logstail we are also offering the full range of services required to effectively mitigate cyber-attacks. Incident response and consulting, penetration testing and red team operations are aiming to help our customers reduce their cyber incidents. Sign-up for a free demo to realize the power of Logstail!

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