Tech Info

Cybersecurity For HIPPA Compliance Healthcare Businesses MUST Know!

Wednesday, November 30th, 2022
African American male doctor with serious expression on cell phone sitting at desk with computer

To protect the privacy of patients and to ensure the safety of their data, HIPAA regulations require businesses to take specific measures. While these regulations can seem burdensome, they are essential for preserving the trust of patients. Besides keeping the trust of your clientele, staying compliant helps you avoid hefty fines. Here are some of the largest fines that have been levied against healthcare businesses for violating HIPAA cybersecurity regulations.

The largest HIPAA fines

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) is a federal law that establishes regulations and standards for protecting PHI (patient health information). Covered entities that fail to comply with HIPAA can be subject to civil and criminal penalties. To date, the largest HIPAA fine has been levied against Anthem, Inc., which was ordered to pay $16 million. They allegedly failed to provide adequate security for the electronic health records of more than 79 million patients. This not only cost them the fine but millions in extra fees and settlement costs.

How They Could Have Avoided It: Anthem did not have adequate security measures in place to catch hackers or stop them from accessing its customers’ data. As a result, criminals were able to gain access to their network and steal names, birthdates, Social Security numbers, medical ID numbers, and more.

If Anthem had worked with a comprehensive cybersecurity company, they could have avoided this data breach and the resulting fine. A cybersecurity company would have helped Anthem assess its risks and put in place the necessary security measures to protect customer data.

This is not the only large fine that has been imposed for HIPAA violations, however. Here are some of the largest in the last decade. These cases make clear that HIPAA violations can come with significant financial consequences.

  • Premera Blue Cross was required to pay a penalty of $6.85 million due to a data breach in 2015 that resulted in hackers acquiring the personal health information of 10,466,692 people.
  • Advocate Health Care had to pay a fine of $5.5 million after four of its desktop computers were stolen, putting the data of 4,029,530 of its patients at risk.
  • Between 2013-2015, Excellus Health Plan experienced a data breach in which hackers successfully deployed malware and stole the information of 9.3 million individuals.

Getting the best cybersecurity with a Managed IT Solutions Company that has experience to help avoid compliance violations

Cybersecurity is more important than ever before. With the rise of digital health records and the increased use of mobile devices, it is essential to protect patient information. Unfortunately, many organizations have been lax in their efforts to safeguard data.

Not only do you have to worry about hackers, but you also have to make sure you are complying with regulations like HIPAA. If you experience a data breach or safety violation, it is important to take quick action to mitigate the damage. To prevent a breach, start with these steps.

  • Assess your current cybersecurity practices and tools.
  • Remember, the OCR can conduct audits whenever they want, on any covered entity, through their active compliance program.
  • Research and hire a cybersecurity company that understands your industry, that is willing to provide you with a network security audit, and that will give you recommendations on their findings.
  • Work with a lawyer to make sure you are taking all the necessary legal steps.
  • Use every available solution to protect your patients’ data, including risk assessment, network firewalls, data encryption, enhanced authentication measures, and physical security products.

Does your business need to improve cybersecurity?

Cybersecurity is a complex issue, but you don’t have to handle it alone. If you need help ensuring your business is compliant with HIPAA regulations regarding cybersecurity, or if you experience a data breach or safety violation, call Andrews & Associates. You can reach us at (806) 242-1088 or Send us an Email today.