When considering web application infrastructure, the first consideration is the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). The US government protects health information through the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and Protected Health Information (PHI). The information is stored, processed, transmitted through web hosting; thus, it needs to be secured. HIPAA rules relate to data handling regardless of party handling. There are many questions you would like to ask while hosting a web app.
The BAA is critical, as it defines the two parties' responsibilities in the HIPAA business associate relationship. Staying compliant with HIPAA is really important. Simply putting BAA doesn't mean it will not compromise your data. Business associates now have a responsibility to adhere to HIPAA like health care and other covered entities, and the impact of the breach is often more expensive.
Questions that you ask HIPAA compliant hosting service go beyond the confined agreement.
Here are the few questions you need to ask your provider when doing HIPAA compliant hosting for a web app. It will help you verify whether your vendor is genuinely committed to keeping patients' sensitive, confidential records protected.
Here is the list of detailed questions which you need to ask your potential service provider.
- Will the web app host sign a BAA agreement?
BAA is not enough by itself; you need to work on construction as possible, which requires your service provider's cooperation. Make sure your BAA is signed by a HIPAA hosting provider and involve a review by attorneys. Check any changes that do not threaten your compliance and whether you are protected against the fallout of a violation.
Considering the most critical aspect of BAA for you is acceptance. Some aspects may be in the document because they are part of the state. Choose the provider who is willing to meet your compliance requirements.
- What are the protective steps taken with HIPAA hosting service subcontractors?
No matter how many conversations you do, it all ends at claiming the HIPAA compliance certification. It is very important for you to know about your provider's technologies for your organizational environment and everything else he will do towards PHI protection.
- What are the intensive protection steps taken by companies to provide greater security for the data?
There are often subcontractors involved in the IT field, so the question of data protection is not easy to forget. To make sure that data is safe, any relevant business associates of the host must sign BAA. It is essential to go beyond BAA to check the safety of information.
- Does the hosting company have data breach insurance?
A data breach can prove very expensive to the provider if BAA passes liability to the provider, according to Becker's Hospital Review. Hosting service provider insurance is a kind of protection for you.
- Will the service provider backup my data?
Ensure all data and records are encrypted by going beyond backup. At the same time, encryption is not necessary for Health & Human Services. A lack of encryption shows the organization was not identifying and protecting against reasonably expected threats for the information's security and integrity as mentioned by HHS's Security Rule.
Generally, many service providers and IT providers promote themselves as HIPAA compliant, but getting them to sign BAA is a different story. Service providers hesitate to sign BAA agreements. It is an additional liability (liability of providing security and signing an agreement that they may not provide in the future or deliver at the current price).
- Do your providers have compliance and security professionals' audits to meet HIPAA parameters?
Ron Avignone of Medical Economics points out that most software companies do not have security and HIPAA expertise to maintain compliance on a daily basis, and the same applies in the case of infrastructure providers. Getting audits done by outside auditors is a way of checking industry standards to confirm a security and compliance approach's authenticity.
- How is the relationship with business associates at all three levels (administrative, technical and physical) required by HIPAA?
It is imperative to have a strong safeguard to maintain compliance with HIPAA, which includes administrative (policies), physical (data centre protections), and technical (encryption).
Maintain compliance in each of these three different directions. A high-quality HIPAA compliant will keep you updated on how they are enforcing security standards and maintaining compliance with HHS regulations. It becomes easy for you to understand compliance in each of three ways.
- Once your agreement with the contractor ends, what happens to your data?
There must be a process to secure data to maintain compliance with deleted information. Even though the contract ends, the BAA stays in force by handling PHI (if the data is kept for simple backups or legal purposes).
Experience HIPAA compliant web hosting
Make sure you stay HIPAA compliant by making sure your hosting company is HIPAA compliant. BAA keeps personal health records safe and confidential and thus having BAA in place is an absolute key. But this agreement does not guarantee that your vendor is maintaining HIPAA compliance. Every covered entity must vet different providers to check their actual level of HIPAA compliance and expert guidance. If you have any doubts regarding HIPAA compliance, feel free to ask in the comment section. Our experts are ready to settle your queries.