HIPAA Compliance Software
The terms “HIPAA compliant software” and “HIPAA compliance software” are frequently used interchangeably by software vendors – often causing confusion among Covered Entities and Business Associates searching for either specific or comprehensive solutions for complying with HIPAA.
There is a distinction between the two terms inasmuch as “HIPAA compliant software” is usually an app or service that fulfills a business´s obligations under HIPAA for one specific task- for example transferring data to the cloud securely or communicating PHI within a secure network.
“HIPAA compliance software” is more often than not an app or service that guides a business through its compliance efforts. This type of software can either help with specific elements of HIPAA compliance (i.e. Security Rule risk assessments) or provide a total solution for every element of HIPAA compliance.
Unwise to Take Shortcuts with HIPAA Compliance Software
Whereas “HIPAA compliant software” is usually designed to perform one task in compliance with HIPAA – and vendors explain clearly how their software is HIPAA compliant – explanations of what “HIPAA compliance software” consists of can be comparatively vague.
With many compliance solutions addressing specific elements of HIPAA compliance, it is important for Covered Entities and Business Associates to know which elements need addressing before entering into a contract with a software vendor.
HIPAA compliance software that guides you through the risk assessment process is a good place to start, provided the risk assessments cover every element of HIPAA and not just the Security Rule. This will help you identify gaps in your compliance efforts and the measures that need to be taken to resolve the gaps.
However, although this may be a cheaper short-term option than implementing a total HIPAA compliance solution, it may mean you then have to find another vendor to assist you with gap remediation and policy implementation, or employee compliance training, or incident management. Eventually the individual shortcuts cost more than the comprehensive solutions.
Finding a Suitable Vendor of HIPAA Compliance Software
Due to many software vendors using the terms “compliant” and “compliance” interchangeably, finding a suitable vendor of HIPAA compliance software can be difficult. As mentioned above, the key to finding a suitable vendor is to know which elements of your compliance efforts need addressing.
To help Covered Entities and Business Associates identify any shortcomings in their compliance efforts, we have compiled a “HIPAA Compliance Guide” – a free guide outlining the key areas of HIPAA with links to authoritative sources for businesses who require further information about specific areas of HIPAA.
We also suggest the following tips for finding a suitable vendor of HIPAA compliance software to ensure the service provided for you is comprehensive and does not leave gaps in your compliance efforts unidentified:
- Avoid HIPAA training courses that promise compliance certification within thirty minutes.
- Select vendors that offer compliance solutions tailored to your specific needs.
- Ensure somebody is available to answer any questions and provide advice.
- Check the vendor offers an ongoing and regularly updated solution.
- Request verifiable testimonials from the vendor.
Understanding the distinction between “HIPAA compliant software” and “HIPAA compliance software” can be complicated, and it can be time-consuming finding a suitable vendor with a product to match your specific needs. There is no “one-size-fits-all” solution to HIPAA compliance, but the effort you put into identifying and addressing shortfalls in your compliance with HIPAA can be financially worthwhile.