HIPAA stands for Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. This federal law was enacted as an incremental reform to health care. Experts consider it the most important health care legislation since Medicare in 1965.
HIPAA’s purpose is to reform healthcare by reducing costs and administrative burdens and improving privacy and security for patients' information.
HIPAA privacy is one law, while HIPAA security covers the other. HIPAA Privacy is about protecting individuals' private health information (PHI), while HIPAA security guidelines concern the privacy and security of individuals' electronic protected health information (ePHI).
HIPAA has two major categories: Covered Entities and Business Associates. Covered Entities are those types of organizations/individuals that deal directly with protected health information and consist of healthcare providers, health insurance providers, and employer-sponsored group health plans.
Anybody outside these categories is considered a business partner. These business associates can be medical billing companies or medical storage companies. They also include marketing organizations, software companies, and medical device manufacturers.
HIPAA compliance has two components. The first is HIPAA training for employees. The second is implementing procedures and forms that are related to HIPAA.
Although HIPAA regulations may seem obvious, they are just a way to provide some standardization for individuals and organizations who care for them.
HIPAA compliance doesn't have to be difficult and can be done with minimal effort once it is established.