Comply with HIPAA and Mitigate Risk with ITAD
Protected Health Information
Protected health information (PHI) is a subset of personally identifiable information (PII). PHI specifically refers to health information shared with HIPAA covered entities, such as healthcare providers. Examples of PHI include medical records, hospital bills, and lab reports, and extends to any other information on an individual’s past, present, or future physical and/or mental health.
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) was enacted in 1996. HIPAA gives federal protections to PHI held by healthcare providers, giving patients a number of rights with respect to their information. Therefore, it is important that protected health information is dealt with in a secure manner throughout its lifecycle.
Data Breach Risk
When it comes to data security, a data breach can have really damaging consequences on a healthcare organization. Becoming the victim of a data breach can cost a healthcare organization in a number of ways including increased customer turnover, increased new business acquisition costs, damaged reputation, and lost revenue caused by system downtime. As healthcare organizations must comply with HIPAA regulations, the associated regulatory and legal costs can also contribute to higher costs in the years following a data breach.
Beyond just the theft and exposure of a patient’s personal health information (PHI), a data breach is also very costly to the organization. Notably, a recent IBM report found that healthcare organizations experienced the highest average cost of a data breach, for the eleventh year in a row. This year, the cost of a data breach in the healthcare sector increased by 29.5% from an average total cost of $7.13 million in 2020 to $9.23 million in 2021.
As recently as September this year, a healthcare center in Maine suffered a data breach of the information of 116,898 patients due to improper disposal of hard drives.
ITAD and HIPAA
It is clear that improperly disposing of end-of-life IT assets, especially from a healthcare perspective, carries risk that can cause a lot of damage not only to patients but also to the organization’s reputation.
Three categories of safeguards must be put in place to protect PHI, these are; administrative, physical and technical safeguards. An example of an administrative safeguard would be managing proper workforce actions around maintaining proper data security. Physical safeguards involve the use of defensive measures against natural disasters as well as preventing unauthorized access to PHI via policies, procedures, and physical measures.
The rule also requires technical safeguards to be enacted, which involve substantial cybersecurity measures and digital access control. This also includes proper management of end-of-life healthcare IT assets. For example, all IT assets that contain PHI must be disposed of using a method that ensures data cannot be read or reconstructed. Typically, this involves erasing (using data sanitization software that permanently erases all data), degaussing, or destruction/shredding.
About ITAD for healthcare
Compliance with regulations such as HIPAA is crucial and involves ensuring that IT assets that may contain PHI are properly disposed of. A proper IT Asset Disposal (ITAD) program will help mitigate this risk. ITAD is the process of disposing of used IT hardware in a safe, secure, and sustainable manner. ITAD will optimize your IT budget, ensure the security of your business data, save you valuable time and resources, and help you achieve your CSR goals.
The Techbuyer IT Asset Disposition (ITAD) service uses security procedures that meet your organization’s HIPAA compliance standards and dealing with secure healthcare data destruction.
Your reputation is our reputation, and we believe nothing is more important than your data security. Techbuyer is ISO 9001, 45001, and 14001 accredited. Only security vetted staff handle your equipment, from collection through to permanent erasure. We provide full documentation at every stage of the process and eliminate security risks for your business. Our approach is also sustainable. We refurbish over 99% of all IT equipment we receive and ethically recycle the rest in line with secure R2v3 regulations. This keeps quality IT hardware in circulation and contributes to your CSR goals. Get in touch today for more information on ITAD for healthcare organizations.
Leave a comment or question