Although the HIPAA compliance requirements are posing a stiff challenge for the pharmaceutical, health care and life science industries, they can never say no to cloud applications despite knowing that it can complicate matters.
The reason is the power of cloud services like Salesforce that are so much significant that the industries can hardly afford to ignore. The services provide cost benefits and increase operational efficiencies that have an enormous impact on business, hence become indispensable. Although Salesforce has robust security measures, the onus of HIPAA compliance rests on you.
When it comes to meeting the HIPAA requirements, Salesforce compliance features come handy because you are already following the best practices. However, for effective HIPAA compliance, you need to focus on the following strategies.
Identify data that you have to protect
Protected health information better known as PHI relates to individually identifiable health information deemed as classified personal information by the US Department of Health and Human Services. HIPAA regulations ensure that you must take measures so that this information remains private, its integrity is maintained, and the information is made available after providing its protection.
PHI contains the names, addresses, birth dates and social security numbers of individuals. It also includes information about the mental and physical health treatment of people as well as details of payment they have made towards healthcare.
To meet the HIPAA requirements on the Salesforce platform, you must pay attention to the ePHI or the electronic version of the data. Carefully scrutinize every field that might contain data related to PHI that you send to the Salesforce platform. This risk assessment would give more strength to HIPAA compliance.
Limit and control access to ePHI data
Once you identify the sensitive data for protection, the next important task is to restrict access to the data. The data must only be accessible to employees who need it and should be available for selected applications that have a particular use of the data.
Draft suitable policies for access control of ePHI data and create appropriate authorizations for accessing it. Now that you have the data under your control and know what must not leak apply the restrictions diligently so that there are minimum or no chances of any leak.
You can make your Salesforce platform HIPAA compliant with the support of suitable cloud based software that helps to identify unauthorized activities.
Encrypt ePHI data
Keeping an eye on users will only partially contribute to reducing the possibilities of wrong use of ePHI data. To make the system foolproof, take steps in encrypting data with the aid of suitable software.
The encryption is possible in a granular fashion and reaches at the bottom up to the character level and field level. Some software facilitates automatic encryption of ePHI data before it leaves your system and reaches the Salesforce platform.
If you want to decrypt, data make use of the encryption key access given to you. Data encryption is offered complete protection to data even in the event of leakage.
Be alert and take steps to protect data which if leaked can cause enough damage to your reputation.