Is It Possible to Create a HIPAA Compliant Website?

Linda D. Klein

A hippa compliant website begins with an understanding of what exactly is HIPAA. Anyone who comes in contact with medical health information (HIP) from a patient’s chart to their social security number must protect the privacy of that data and follow strict rules for the disclosure and use of it. […]

A hippa compliant website begins with an understanding of what exactly is HIPAA. Anyone who comes in contact with medical health information (HIP) from a patient’s chart to their social security number must protect the privacy of that data and follow strict rules for the disclosure and use of it. HIPAA regulations and guidelines were created by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA). Up until now, many websites are not following the guidelines and may be violating federal or state laws. This is why learning about HIPAA compliance is critical to your business.

Why is HIPAA so essential?

HIPAA compliance improves healthcare providers’ ability to protect sensitive information. HIPAA regulations and guidelines are intended to prevent third parties from using or leaking sensitive personal health information. HIPAA regulations and guidelines also ensure that healthcare providers correctly report and handle HIPAA-protected information. Ensuring that sensitive information is reported minimizes liability while increasing customer trust.

What is HIPAA Compliant Website Design?

Creating a HIPAA compliant site requires the same elements that create a medical information website does: choosing a domain name, choosing a layout for the site, choosing a web server, and developing a web application. In addition, many states have additional regulations regarding how covered entities must protect confidential patient information. In other words, when designing your HIPAA-compliant site, you must be aware of state-specific information and rules.

How do I Make my Website HIPAA Compliant?

Your website must make it clear to your audience who it is that is receiving the medical information. This includes ensuring that all data is encrypted and protected with SSL, implementing encryption on every page, and using a PIN to gain access to pages that require a user’s PIN. The HIPAA regulations state that your healthcare provider must make a secure portal from start to finish to protect the privacy and security of patients.

How do I Make my Website Secure?

To be HIPAA compliant, your site must use strong passwords, use non-accessible URLs, use HTTPS at the beginning of the URL’s, use HTTPS at the end of URLs, provide login/user ID requirements, provide an email address for client contact, and provide password protection on all files that may be accessed by patients. Furthermore, all HIPAA technical safeguards must be in place. HIPAA regulations state that covered entities must implement reasonable technical safeguards designed to reduce the risk of unauthorized access to protected health information. These safeguards include random codes that would make it impossible for an individual to guess the password, use fingerprint scans to gain access to secured areas of a website, and install anti-virus software on all computers that may access protected data.

Are there any exceptions?

Yes, in regards to HIPAA regulations and websites. HIPAA compliant websites cannot be used as a means to gather the personal information of individuals. Additionally, HIPAA technical safeguards may not apply to websites that are operated by members of an organization or its various associations. This does not mean, however, that social media websites such as Facebook are exempt from the laws governing privacy and security.

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