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Patient Privacy: How to Make Your Healthcare Website HIPAA-Compliant

healthcare websiteHealthcare websites, especially hospitals, are always a hot target for cybercriminals. In 2018, the United States’ government health insurance website was among the largest sites hacked.Tech news outlet TechCrunch reported that the hackers did not modify the website itself because their primary target was the protected health information (PHI). They stole over 75,000 patient records. These files contained a lot of sensitive data, including addresses, full names, and even social security numbers.According to a recent report by the Institute for Critical Infrastructure Technology, these pieces of information are used by cybercriminals for identity theft. The records are sold at around $20 apiece. It’s also possible that a person’s file will be part of a larger document filled with other stolen information about them. These compilations often sell for around $1,500. Hackers can use this data to pose as the victim online and commit a variety of crimes, such as filing fake tax returns or extorting large amounts of money from the owner of the records.Around 93% of hospitals in the United States have a website that allows patients to view their electronic health records and other information. As such, these pages must be properly secured. One way to do this is to comply with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) standards of creating a healthcare website. Besides clinics, sites from healthcare providers like pharmacies and insurance marketers that carry protected health information should follow the HIPAA rules.But what is the HIPAA, anyway? 

A Secure Standard

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) of 1996 pushed the U.S. Department of Health to create national regulations in handling electronic health information. Its rules say that healthcare businesses should ensure that the electronic PHI they store, create, and transmit is confidential and protected against improper alteration or destruction. Here are measures you can take to uphold this standard. 
  • Keep Your Site Data Backed-Up – All PHI on your site and servers should be backed up securely, either through a trusted cloud storage service or encrypted and password-protected external drives. It’s also important to use a website data capture program to keep records of your webpage’s content. This way, you’ll have authentic information to review and present, in case your company faces litigation from regulators.
  • Encrypt Your Site- Protect your client or patient data by getting your website a secure sockets layer (SSL) certificate. SSL ensures that your site’s connection to your clients’ device is encrypted. This means that the sensitive information that your users input on your site, like passwords, social security numbers, and credit card information, won’t be readable by third parties, like hackers.
  • Keep Deals in Writing – When you’re working with other businesses, be it vendors or a digital marketing agency, the HIPAA requires you to create a written contract that outlines the amount of PHI they have access to. It also requires your business partners to safeguard the data they may access from you. If you’re unsure how to draft a contract, the Department of Health & Human Services offers a template you can use.
healthcare websiteYour healthcare website is a portal for patients and clients to access their electronic health records conveniently. But it may also be just as convenient for cybercriminals to take that data. Keep it safe by getting your webpages archived, encrypting your clients’ information, and making sure your partners are also following HIPAA rules. Your customers and patients will trust your business more when they know that it complies with the government’s strict standards. The healthcare industry has strict regulations that, when violated, may cost you your business. Problems in your website content, whether the work of hackers or not, can open up a healthcare provider to lawsuits.  As such, you should archive your website content with PageFreezer Software Inc. We will help you keep records of your blog posts, product pages, and customer comments, and other data on your site so you can comply with FDA, FTC, and HIPAA standards.Contact us today to keep your site content compliant and safe.
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