The healthcare sector suffered record-high data breaches in 2021, with each incident costing $9.23 million. In March 2022 alone, 43 data breaches occurred, exposing 3,083,988 healthcare records.
Understanding HIPAA Compliance
The fundamental objective of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) is to protect the privacy and security of patient health information, commonly known as Protected Health Information (PHI). HIPAA works alongside other legislation to dictate how covered entities and their business associates should handle PHI.
Key Provisions of HIPAA
Privacy Rule: This rule emphasizes the protection of the privacy of an individual’s health information. It defines the standards for using and disclosing PHI by covered entities.
Security Rule: This aspect deals with setting the standards for safeguarding electronic PHI, detailing the administrative, physical, and technical safeguards organizations must employ.
Enforcement Rule: Reiterates the penalties for HIPAA violations and the procedures for investigations. Reiterates the penalties for HIPAA violations and the procedures for investigations.
Minimum Necessary Rule: This is a part of the Privacy regulation that dictates when PHI is used or disclosed, it should only involve the minimum necessary information to accomplish the intended purpose.
HIPAA applies to all stakeholders in the healthcare industry, from healthcare facilities and hospitals to IoMT equipment suppliers and third-party data management companies.
Role of a HIPAA Compliance Officer
Understanding CCPA Compliance
CCPA and Its Interplay with HIPAA
Key Provisions of CCPA
Consumer Rights to Access: Individuals have the right to request that businesses disclose the categories and specific pieces of personal information collected about them.
Consumer Rights to Deletion: Consumers can ask businesses to delete their personal information, with certain exceptions.
Consumer Rights to Opt-Out: Consumers have the right to opt out of personal information sales by a business.
Data Protection Laws: CCPA ensures stricter data protection laws compared to HIPAA, imposing greater responsibility on businesses regarding non-PHI data.
Ensure Non-discrimination: They cannot discriminate against consumers who choose to exercise their rights under the CCPA.
Include a “Do Not Sell My Personal Information” Link: Companies are required to place this link on their homepage to allow users to opt out of the sale of their personal information.
Respect Withdrawal of Consent: After a consumer has withdrawn their consent, the company must refrain from asking to sell or disclose the consumer’s data for a period of 12 months.
Protect Children’s Privacy: Companies must establish a process to obtain consent from parents or guardians before using the data of children below 13 years of age.
Health Data Exclusions Under CCPA
HIPAA and CCPA: How They Work Together
Data from Outside Healthcare: Some organizations, while following HIPAA, might collect information that isn’t strictly about health, such as where their employees are located based on mobile geolocation data. This isn’t health-related data (or “Protected Health Information” under HIPAA), but it is still considered “personal information” by the CCPA. For example, a hospital tracking staff locations through an app must comply with the CCPA for that specific data.
Anonymized Health Data: Sometimes, health data is stripped of personal details, making it “de-identified.” While HIPAA doesn’t consider this as personal data, CCPA might. So, even if names are removed from health records, the data might still fall under CCPA rules.
Guesswork from Health Data: Consider CCPA as having a broad net, catching even guesses or “inferences” from our health information. If a system guesses you love running because of your health data and starts showing you ads for running shoes, that guessed information falls under CCPA protection. It’s like piecing together a puzzle about someone’s hobbies from their health habits, and CCPA ensures those puzzle pieces are protected.
How does CCPA affect HIPAA-compliant businesses?
HIPAA Exemptions in CCPA
Here’s what you need to know:
HIPAA: A federal privacy law that keeps your health information safe.
CCPA: A California law that protects your personal information.
Clinical Trials are exempt: If you conduct a clinical study, the data collected is not under CCPA but follows other guidelines, ensuring safety and confidentiality.
Example: Think of a hospital handling a patient’s health records. While the hospital follows HIPAA for these records, it doesn’t need to double-check CCPA guidelines for the same data.
But here’s Where You Need to Pay Attention:
Your Website: If your healthcare facility has a website collecting non-medical data (like email addresses), CCPA rules apply. You need to handle this data carefully.
Example: If your hospital’s website has a section where visitors can sign up for newsletters and provide their email and name, this data must follow CCPA rules.
Credit Card Details: If you store payment information, it’s not protected by HIPAA. CCPA guidelines are in play here.
Project Nightingale: Google accessed many health records without telling patients. While HIPAA allowed this for health advancements, CCPA might say “no,” ensuring tighter control.
Legal Risks of CCPA & HIPAA
If a rule is intentionally broken, the fine can shoot up to $7,500 for each mistake.
Selling PHI or using it for other monetary business purposes can lead to a fine up to $250,000 and as much as 10 years in jail.
Complying with HIPAA and CCPA is crucial to protecting patient data and avoiding legal issues. It’s more than following rules; it’s about building trust with consumers by safeguarding their information.
Healthcare organizations should prioritize this by embracing transparency and utilizing experts in the field. Get started with MedStack’s HIPAA compliance software, an industry-recognized solution that meets regulatory demands, enhances trust, and fosters a secure healthcare data environment.
Taking care of your digital health isn’t just a choice, it’s a necessity. Get compliant and secure digital healthcare with MedStack.