Creating a HIPAA Compliant Website
Do you know what it takes to have a HIPAA compliant website? Having a web presence is critical to attracting patients to your behavioral health practice in today’s increasingly digital age. But how do you ensure that you’re not risking patient privacy in the process?
We’ve put together the following tips to keep in mind when creating your website.
HIPAA Website Basics
Before you understand how to make your website HIPAA compliant, let’s take a quick look at HIPAA regulation. HIPAA is a national regulation that sets standards for the privacy and security of protected health information (PHI). PHI is any information that can be used to identify a patient. Examples include name, address, telephone number, email address, date of birth, and medical records.
HIPAA regulation requires healthcare providers and vendors who are in direct contact with PHI to be compliant with the law. HIPAA defines providers as “covered entities” (CE), and vendors as “business associates” (BA). Whether you are a behavioral health practitioner or an telehealth service provider working within healthcare, you must have a HIPAA compliant website to protect the information that you are collecting and processing from potential patients.
Does Your Website Need to be HIPAA Compliant?
There are three key questions you must ask yourself to assess whether or not your website must be HIPAA compliant. These questions are:
- Are you collecting PHI on your website?
- Are you transmitting PHI through your website?
- Are you storing PHI on a server connected to your website?
If you answer “yes” to any of these questions, you must have a HIPAA compliant website.
How to Create a Compliant Website
First, ask yourself “Do I use HIPAA compliant web forms?” Using HIPAA compliant web forms helps ensure that the PHI you are collecting will be seen by you and only you. This helps avoid data breaches and prevents unsecured information from being released.
Next, ask yourself “Do we use encryption with our webforms and website?” HIPAA has set its own standards for encrypting data that is both “at rest” and “in motion”. In the modern digital age, encryption is becoming essential for running a successful telehealth business. Having these security measures will help protect your clients and their information.
HIPAA compliant websites are most effective when the provider and patient can both trust the security measures that are being taken to protect PHI. As long as these measures are taken throughout the use, storage, and transmission of PHI, your compliance is in place for your website.