What are the computer regulations under HIPAA Security Rules?

With the growing use of technology, government also needed to ensure HIPAA compliance in the use of computers also. HIPAA computer regulations fall under the HIPAA security rules and health care providers have to follow HIPAA guidelines when transmitting personal health information in electronic format. Here are some regulations which need to be followed by healthcare providers in order to ensure HIPAA compliance with computer usage.

All entities covered under HIPAA rules are required to write and implement procedures and policies that outline the proper access and use of all computer equipment. The policies and procedures must be based on an individual risk analysis conducted by the facility’s management.

The facility or business in question must outline and understand the use of computers and technology in its day-to-day routines and in the overall management of its patient records. Electronic interaction with outside vendors, like billing companies, laboratories and product suppliers, should be included in the risk analysis.

HIPAA regulations require a written procedure and a software control tool for the following: user access, system audit and data integrity. Access control should allow only authorized users to enter and use the computer system. Password and log-in procedures along with firewall software can protect the computer from intruders at several levels.

Unauthorized access of records during transmission from one entity to another is included in HIPAA regulations. Offices or facilities that do not connect to an outside computer system, but instead use only a local (on site) network of computers, will create a different solution to transmission security than those with networks that reach into other businesses.

Entities falling under the requirements of HIPAA regulations should examine their transmission options with their software and hardware vendors. Information Security Publication number 800-63 entitled “Electronic Authentication Guideline,” produced by the National Institute of Standards and Technology, provides insight into the ways federal agencies design electronic authentication or e-authentication. The information is recommended reading for health care managers handling the implementation of HIPAA regulations.