HIPAA Encryption Requirements

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) is United States law that encrypts to secure your patients’ private medical data. The HIPAA Security Rule obliges organizations to restrict access to PHI, to protect PHI from illegal access, to ensure the reliability of PHI at rest, and to make sure 100% message accountability. If you choose not to use it, you are exposing your business to an excess of authoritarian, legal, public relations, and financial risks that are easily preventable by simply using encryption.

HIPAA Encryption Requirements create a significant challenge for IT teams charged with ensuring prevent the unauthorized disclosure of ePHI in healthcare organizations. Encryption of protected health information is only an ‘addressable’ problem in the technical protection. Encryption also protects against Email breaches by end-to-end encryption, device theft consequences, ransomware by backing up your system.  It is not always necessary to inform the patient or Office of Civil Rights if the breached data “unreadable, indecipherable, or unusable” and the encrypted data can be removed remotely.

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However, the law does not specify which types of encryption to use in order to accomplish this task. Since HIPAA requires that you must take steps to secure patients’ privacy in particular PHI organizations that experience a data breach to run the risk of significant financial and criminal penalties under HIPAA. For the protection of PHI against unofficial access, encryption is the most understandable and easy way.

Ignoring HIPAA Encryption Requirements 

The failure to encrypt protected health information (PHI) at rest and in transit or using a different security method that does not offers a similar level of encryption could result in a HIPAA breach penalty from the HHS’ Office for Civil Rights. A lot of covered entities have already received penalties for the failure to encrypt data on portable devices. Under HIPAA, every breach of unencrypted ePHI requires you to provide time-bound notifications to affect patient, Secretary of HHS, and prominent local or state media outlets. HIPAA data at rest encryption requirements may not be open, but it is absolutely important in order to guarantee your compliance with HIPAA regulations.

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