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Why Is HIPAA IT Compliance Important for Businesses?

HIPAA is something every healthcare organization is familiar with, but did you know there are non-healthcare companies that must also meet HIPAA compliance requirements? HIPAA – short for the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 – is a set of standards designed to protect patient privacy. Any company that collects, shares, or receives protected health information (PHI) is required to maintain HIPAA compliance – regardless of how you use the data. 

Many businesses are unaware that they need to abide by HIPAA regulations. One survey found that only 13% of law firms had implemented the necessary IT systems to ensure compliance with HIPAA,1 despite having access to clients’ PHI records. Healthcare organizations have also struggled to maintain compliance as cyber attacks continue to increase, with an average of 38,575 patient records compromised in data breaches during April 2022 alone.2

This blog will discuss the role IT plays in maintaining HIPAA compliance, the risks your business faces if it’s not compliant, and how Xceptional can help you find the right technology solutions to achieve and maintain compliance.

What Does IT Have to Do With HIPAA Compliance?

The same technology that makes collecting and sharing patient personal data possible can become a HIPAA compliance risk when the proper security measures aren’t taken. Keeping sensitive information private when shared electronically is complex, and the new cyber security risks introduced by remote and hybrid work environments create even more difficulties for organizations.

Three major rules from HIPAA that address IT directly are:

  • Systems storing PHI must log out automatically after a certain period of time to prevent unauthorized access. 
  • Anyone with access to PHI must have unique login information that can be audited based on their usage. 
  • All PHI must be encrypted. 

Often, businesses implement new technologies without first checking their potential to violate these requirements. If your company handles PHI, you should be confident that every application or device touching your network is HIPAA compliant – or risk facing the costly consequences of a data breach or HIPAA violation fine.

Risks of Not Maintaining HIPAA Compliance

Violating HIPAA compliance requirements can lead to both financial and non-financial repercussions for your business. These can include:

Fines and Penalties

The cost of the financial penalties your business may face as a result of violating HIPAA compliance depends on the severity of the offense, with fines ranging from $100 to $50,000 per violation and adjusted annually for inflation. While the OCR has the discretion to waive a penalty for unknowingly violating HIPAA, ignorance of HIPAA regulations is not considered a justifiable excuse for failing to put the appropriate safeguards in place. 

Data Breaches

According to a 2021 data breach report, the most popular targets for cyber criminals are the healthcare and financial industries, with the average total cost for data breaches affecting healthcare organizations rising from $7.13 million in 2020 to $9.23 million in 2021.3 Because these industries process so much sensitive information – and often rely on outdated IT systems – they’re prime targets for cyber threats like phishing attacks, ransomware, and more. 

Loss of Customer Trust

Compromising your customers’ sensitive information, either by willfully or accidentally neglecting security regulations, can result in a loss of trust. Nearly 65% of data breach victims lose trust in an organization after a breach,4 so if you fail to keep their information safe, they’ll likely turn to a business that invests more time and energy into securing their network and meeting compliance requirements.

How Compliance as a Service Can Help

Protecting your data from hackers and malicious parties is hard enough without the correct IT solutions and support. Add to this the growing list of HIPAA Privacy and Security Rules that regulate sensitive PHI data, and putting all the right pieces together becomes particularly challenging without the guidance of a HIPAA IT compliance expert.

Xceptional simplifies compliance with our comprehensive compliance as a service (CaaS) solutions. Our Compliance Manager is your organization’s complete end-to-end compliance tool, providing quarterly scanning, reporting, and documentation for HIPAA regulatory compliance in a convenient, hosted platform.

Enjoy reduced risk, lower costs, and less time spent achieving and maintaining HIPAA compliance with Xceptional as your trusted compliance partner. We'll customize our Compliance Manager to address the unique cyber security and compliance requirements of your business. Check out our CaaS page today to learn more about how Xceptional can help you avoid HIPAA risks and get your IT on track for compliance.

Xceptional: Your Trusted Partner in HIPAA IT Compliance

Failing to meet HIPAA compliance requirements exposes your business to a wide range of risks. Expensive violation fines, devastating cyber attacks, and loss of customer trust can damage your reputation in ways that may take years to repair.

Get ahead of these risks with Xceptional. We’re experts in keeping businesses compliant with advanced network security solutions, custom compliance services, and responsive, capable IT support. If you’re ready for the solutions and support that help you meet your company’s compliance needs, contact Xceptional today.