The HIPAA Security Rule and Protecting Electronic Patient Information in Medical Billing

Protecting data with the security rule

The Security Rule

More and more, the medical industry is moving away from paper and transitioning exclusively to electronic databases. This means that confidential information such as patient demographics, charts and medical history, are being entered and accessed electronically. Therefore, in recognition of the risks associated with storing information in this manner, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has established the Security Rule within HIPAA.

“A major goal of the Security Rule is to protect the privacy of individuals’ health information while allowing covered entities to adopt new technologies to improve the quality and efficiency of patient care.”

US Department of Health and Human Services
The Security Rule and HIPAA

In other words, it is essential for the growth of businesses in the medical industry – particularly medical billing – that technical solutions be developed for the transfer of patient data. These measures are not intended to stifle that progress, but rather foster it safely.  

The Security Rule has goals that are expected to be met by covered entities.  However, it does not mandate how the information is protected but instead lists these goals that are to be met.  How the covered entity does this is decided by the individual entity based on its size and scope.

Risk Analysis and Management

When implementing the Security Rule, Risk Analysis and Management are important factors in how a medical billing company should proceed. Risk Analysis is the process by which the entity assesses the vulnerability of the data and how easily it could be breached.

Management is where policies and procedures are put into place to limit unauthorized access to electronic information. This is also where audit and evaluation procedures should be established. The entity not only needs to establish how to protect electronic patient information but also needs to review the measures to determine that the desired outcome is being met.

In medical billing, we need to safely receive, store, and transmit the information that we are in care of.  We need to know to whom we can disclose information and why. The information must be disclosed according to HIPAA guidelines in a manner that is safe and secure.

Disclaimer: The materials contained on this website are provided for informational purposes only and do not constitute legal or other professional advice on any subject matter. Advanced Medical Practice Management does not accept any responsibility for any loss which may arise from reliance on information contained on this site.