HIPAA Technical Safeguards: What You Need to Know to Keep Your Organization Safe

Posted by Ken Reiher

Healthcare data breaches occur almost every day and are becoming more frequent. Threat actors are continually shifting their tactics and targets relentlessly to stay ahead of the game. As a result, it is absolutely necessary that healthcare organizations respond to ever-changing cyber threats and implement technical safeguards that are current, comprehensive, and compliant.

While it is impossible for healthcare organizations to eliminate the possibility of a data breach altogether, implementing HIPAA technical safeguards can help mitigate cyber risks.

What are HIPAA technical safeguards?

According to the HIPAA Security Rule, technical safeguards are “the technology and the policy and procedures for its use that protect electronic protected health information and control access to it.”

Technical safeguards are broken down into Standards and Implementation Specifications. Standards are high-level milestones that are, in theory, accomplished by the implementation specifications beneath them.

As defined by HIPAA, the technical safeguard standards and implementations are:

  • 164.312(a)(1) – Access Control Standard.
    Implement technical policies and procedures for electronic information systems that maintain electronic protected health information to allow access only to those persons or software programs that have been granted access rights as specified in 164.308(a)(4).
  • 164.312(b) – Audit Controls Standard.
    Implement hardware, software, and/or procedural mechanisms that record and examine activity in information systems that contain or use electronic protected health information.
  • 164.312(c)(1) Integrity Standard.
    Implement policies and procedures to protect electronic protected health information from improper alteration or destruction.
  • 164.312(d) – Person or Entity Authentication Standard.      
    Implement procedures to verify that a person or entity seeking access to electronic protected health information is the one claimed.
  • 164.312(e)(1) – Transmission Security Standard.
    Implement technical security measures to guard against unauthorized access to electronic protected health information that is being transmitted over an electronic communications network.

When these technical safeguards are appropriately put in place along with physical and administrative safeguards, a healthcare organization will be much better prepared for numerous types of data breaches.

How can ComplyAssistant help?

ComplyAssistant’s HIPAA compliance consultants provide a risk assessment of all the regulatory standards and implementation specifications. We also offer HIPAA compliance software, which allows you to manage HIPAA policies, procedures, and evidence of operational compliance for your organization.

To learn more, contact us for a complimentary evaluation. You can reach us at 800.609.3414, via email at info@complyassistant.com, or by filling out the form on our contact page.