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HIPAA Compliance in Acumatica

What is HIPAA?

HIPAA Compliance in Acumatica

The market is saturated with a plethora of enterprise resource planning (ERP) softwares. With so many options available, finding the right one for your business can be a challenge - especially for companies in the healthcare space. Not only do they have to make sure that their ERP software optimizes their business processes, they also have to ensure that their ERP is HIPAA compliant.

What is HIPAA?

Needless to say, the healthcare sector holds a plethora of personal and sensitive information. In order to protect an individual’s sensitive health information in this ecosystem, regulate how it can be used or disclosed, as well as give the individual certain rights to their information - a US federal law called Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) was enacted in 1996.

Overall, HIPAA can be elaborated upon by the following:

  • Requires the protection and confidential handling of protected health information
  • Reduces healthcare fraud and abuse
  • Mandates industry-wide standards for healthcare information on electronic billing and other processes
  • Gives patients more control over their health information
  • Sets boundaries on the use and release of health records
  • And much more

Who Needs to be HIPAA Compliant?

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) is a crucial component of the healthcare industry. It affects a broad range of individuals within the space:

  • Covered Entities: those who are the source of personal health information (i.e. healthcare providers, health plans, etc.)
  • Business Associates: third-party individuals with whom covered entities or other business associates share PHI in order to perform their operations (i.e. medical billing, answering machines, and software companies, etc.) 

 

Both covered entities and business associates are responsible to ensure their systems are HIPAA compliant. This includes any business management software they may have or want to have implemented.

HIPAA Privacy and HIPAA Security

HIPAA Privacy focuses on the protections for personal health information (PHI) from a people standpoint. This involves training people accurately, signing contracts, establishing policies and procedures, among other things. There are three classes of people that a business associate will have to deal with; clients (required to sign a business associate contract), partners (required to sign a business associate contract - i.e. FedEx or UPS), and organizational staff (administrative safeguards will be put into place to protect PHI).

HIPAA Security, on the other hand, focuses on protections specifically for electronic personal health information (ePHI). Essentially, it involves safeguards and protections for ePHI and is a federal minimum floor of information technology standards and protections. This must be followed by any person or organization that stores or transmits ePHI. It involves adding additional security measures such as firewalls, password policies, antiviruses, encryption, and more. The main objection is to ensure confidentiality, integrity, availability of all ePHI, protection against digital (i.e. malware and breaches) and natural events (i.e. floods and fires).

HIPAA Compliance

If you are in the United States and within the healthcare space - your company can face significant penalties for not complying with HIPAA guidelines. In addition to financial penalties, there is a matter of litigation damages, loss of accreditation, public exposure which can lead to loss of market share, company morals may be questioned, and individuals can even face the risk of imprisonment. In short, there are many violation penalties. So it’s certainly better to be compliant than not.

HIPAA and ERP Systems

As with any industry, ERP systems allow healthcare organizations to integrate a variety of functionalities, including medical records keeping and corporate government tasks (i.e financial data reporting). Since HIPAA includes requirements for maintaining privacy and security of patient medical records, developers of software for use in the healthcare space must deal with the constantly changing regulatory environment of the healthcare industry. HIPAA compliance ensures the lack of penalties and possible lawsuits.

Acumatica ERP and HIPAA

Acumatica is the complete ERP solution that is adaptable to any growing small and mid-sized organization's business management needs. Industry-leading, this cloud-based enterprise resource planning (ERP) platform helps companies across various industries reach their goals through a suite of applications.

A benefit of implementing a cloud-based system is that it is essentially “future-proof”. Since Acumatica runs on a cloud platform as opposed to an on-premises network, it allows organizations to access important data over the Internet. Considering the COVID19 pandemic, being able to access data whenever and wherever is an asset to most companies.

It is important to bear in mind that while there is no risk of physical obstacles hindering processes, digital threats can disrupt or compromise your business management system. As such, ERP systems need to be configured and installed correctly via trusted sources. This is especially important to note if you are in the healthcare industry - since no cloud server is HIPAA-compliant right out of the box. That, however, does not mean that it cannot become HIPAA compliant - IT experts simply need to work their magic and make it so. 

HIPAA Controls Implementation in Acumatica

In addition to business associate agreements (BAAs) that an ERP implementation team and ERP provider have to sign - there are other controls that can be implemented in order to ensure HIPAA compliance. Here are some of the Acumatica ERP and HIPAA controls:

  • Strong Password Generation
  • Audit Logging
  • Auto Log Off
  • Advance Level Right Configuration for ePHI and PHI data
  • Encryption
  • Data Backups
  • Across Controls
  • And more

HIPAA Compliance in Acumatica: Gold Certified Partners

The takeaway from this should be that HIPAA compliance is mandatory in the United States for all individuals and organizations within the healthcare sector. This includes healthcare providers as well as those in the medical billing space, answering machine space, software installation space, and such. ERPs are essential to boost workspace efficiency and productivity; it keeps everyone organized and on-top of what’s going on across the company. Cloud ERPs are ideal because it gives individuals more flexibility and access - however ERPs are not HIPAA compliant by default. As such, it’s important to work with an ERP expert to implement the necessary controls that will not only optimize your business, but also ensure HIPAA compliance.

If you are in the healthcare industry and need a trusted partner to implement a cloud-based ERP solution, look no further than Acumatica and Bista Solutions. Not only are we completely HIPAA compliant, we are also Acumatica Gold Certified Partners. Based in the United States and operating across North America, our team has over 350 successful ERP implementations under our belt. So whether you’re interested in learning more, or simply want to get started on the implementation process to avoid potential HIPAA penalties, connect with us today.