The digitalization of healthcare information brings both benefits and risks. As healthcare institutions focus on patient care and relay administrative duties to business process outsourcing (BPO) providers, the risk of hackers accessing sensitive data increases—especially if their outsourcing partner is not honoring HIPAA’s data security protocols. As you explore your options for your healthcare outsourcing partner, let this article tell you all you need to know about HIPAA and why working with a HIPAA Compliant outsourcing partner will be your smartest business move yet.
What is HIPAA?
The healthcare industry is often a target for cyberattacks because of the goldmine of profitable information cybercriminals can profit from. To fight this threat, HIPAA was created in 1996.
HIPAA stands for Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. This US federal law prohibits the disclosure of patients’ sensitive healthcare information or Protected Health Information (PHI) without their permission.
What Does It Mean For Outsourcing Providers to Be Compliant?
Under the HIPAA Privacy Rule, there are two entities that are required to be compliant: covered entities and business associates. Covered entities refer to healthcare providers and health plans. In contrast, business associates can be “a person or entity that performs certain functions or activities that involve the use or disclosure of protected health information on behalf of, or provides services to, a covered entity.” Outsourcing providers fall under the latter.
Business associates achieve compliance when they have the appropriate safeguards in place to keep patient records safe and secure by HIPAA’s standards. They underwent various certification courses that included audits, security awareness training, and seminars for their workforce and applied these protocols to their business practices.
Keeping medical records in an electronic database offers healthcare providers easier and faster access to healthcare information, but it also exposes such sensitive data to plenty of online threats. Obtaining HIPAA compliance sends a message of trust to patients that this organization is serious about protecting the privacy of their medical information. For this reason, choosing the services of a compliant outsourcing provider is a smart move.
Why is Having a HIPAA Compliant Outsourcing Partner Important?
Data breaches can be devastating to companies. Your reputation is damaged, and you’ll incur financial losses. At its worst, some companies shut down within six months of a cyberattack.
Then there are the legal fees. HIPAA violations lead to a long process of investigations and hefty fines of up to $25,000.
When you work with a compliant business associate, you can focus on providing healthcare with peace of mind that your patients’ healthcare information is well-protected. Compliant providers adopt the best privacy practices and implement the administrative, technical, and physical safeguards of the HIPAA Security Rule. With all these security measures in place, there’s less risk of a data breach. This will also lessen the amount of due diligence you must do before entering into a service agreement or sale with the provider.
Teaming up with a HIPAA Compliant BPO provider means you intend to operate within the rules, making your company’s services more attractive to potential customers. It sends a message of trust to patients that your organization is serious about protecting the privacy of their medical information.
Outsource to a HIPAA Compliant BPO Provider
We at Booth & Partners take data security very seriously. Our HIPAA Compliant status means that we are equipped and ready to handle every security and privacy protocol for our clients. We are more than prepared against any data breaches that might occur in any situation. These may seem like a common requirement for businesses, but you would be surprised how many companies fail to meet this standard.
Contact us if you want to work with a HIPAA Compliant company that can help you build a high-performing team.