Complying with the HIPAA policies and regulations brings a multitude of hues to the enforcing medical body and the business associate. all the aspects of compliance need to be followed with precision and diligence to avoid any stiff penalties that could arise due to violations. Technical and physical safeguards of PHI are important but the administrative safeguards of the HIPAA Security Rule also require a contingency plan. The contingency plan includes a data backup plan, testing and revision of procedures, emergency mode operation plan, and data critical analysis.
Why Disaster Recovery is important to HIPAA
HIPAA Disaster recovery plan consists of contingency plans that are associated with HIPAA compliance. The need and importance of HIPAA compliance for the healthcare field is as per the federal security standard. It states the availability, confidentiality, and integrity of PHI that is directly associated with the strength and reliability of your infrastructure. The hospitals operate 24/7, so it is imperative that patient data is always accessible. The need for having an electronic health record (EHR) cannot be denied.
Therefore, developing a contingency plan is important not only for compliance but also for practical reasons. With electronic storage of data, there could be reasons like network or hardware failure and loss of access to the data (or even losing the data) even natural disasters like floods, fire, or earthquakes can also lead to loss of data. Theft or human errors can also lead to loss of data and then in such circumstances, the need for a strong recovery plan cannot be denied. In simple words, if there is a medical emergency along with an IT one then being prepared for any setback.
However, keeping it in mind the implementation program in case of contingency should be such that the HIPAA compliance is not affected. The recovery plan that is being implemented should be done after trying it for a failover test. The failover test should be done to ascertain that in case actual disaster happens the problems can be fixed. The complete process will ensure a smoother process for an emergency that could arise. HIPAA has a set of rules to be followed if disaster recovery is being outsourced. The company that will accomplish the disaster recovery plan should work with you to provide failover testing and incorporate the changes that are necessary to make the recovery plan smooth.
Disaster recovery programs are essential, as it will assure that the business runs without any difficulty and in continuation. There are offsite HIPAA data centers that are key to health organization Disaster Recovery. HIPAA Certification training should necessarily have steps and programs for contingency. Having the staff at all levels trained with the required steps to be done in case of contingency helps in smooth providing of services and yet maintaining the privacy of the health information. An emergency plan for the most critical and confidential program even in case of unexpected happenings will prove to be of immense benefit for the business and the patients. Always check your disaster recovery plan against the HHS recommendation for comparing your HIPAA compliance.
Disaster recovery and HIPAA compliance both are very essential for the medical field but if not done with care and precautions after following a recovery plan it could lead to non-compliance with HIPAA or lack of smoothness to retrieve the data in case of any medical emergency. In case the disaster recovery is being outsourced to a third party then even they come under HIPAA compliance. Technical, physical, and administrative safeguards need to be maintained for the HIPAA compliance and avoid the penalties that could arise due to non-compliance of HIPAA security plan.