What is HIPAA?
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) gives directives for organizations to better safeguard individuals’ protected health information (PHI).
HIPAA guidelines protect a wide range of information, so most organizations — even outside of the healthcare industry — must take steps to stay compliant.
Who does HIPAA affect?
Any company that handles this information is responsible for protecting it in accordance with HIPAA guidelines:
- Counseling Centers
- Medical facilities
- Doctor’s Offices
City and County Governments
- Health and Human Services Departments
- Welfare Departments
- City/County Assistance Offices
- Health and Human Services Depts.
- Medicaid Programs
- Depts. of Public Social Services
- Depts. of Supportive Services
- Student health providers
- University hospitals
- Medical and Dental Schools
- Offices of Student Life
K-12 School Districts
- School nurses
- Teachers of students with medical conditions
Nonprofits providing health or social services
Additionally, all corporate HR departments must comply with HIPAA, regardless of industry, because they process employee benefit and health insurance information.
PHI is a broad term, so HIPAA covers a broad range of organizations. PHI includes:
- Social Security numbers (SSNs)
- Medical record numbers
- Medical symptom descriptions
- Insurance plan beneficiary numbers
- Medical device identifiers and serial numbers
- Medical history reports
- ICD-9 codes, and other unique identifying numbers, characteristics, or codes
What Are the Encryption Requirements?
How Does Virtru Help?
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) defines four categories of technical safeguards required for HIPAA compliance:
- Access controls
- Audit controls
- Integrity person or entity authentication
- Transmission security
Virtru’s encryption software is certified HIPAA compliant because it meets or exceeds each of these technical safeguards:
Going Beyond the Requirements
In addition to these requirements, Virtru provides other valuable security and control capabilities for organizations looking to comply with HIPAA:
Persistent Access Control – Revoke access to PHI shared inadvertently, or set message expiration periods when communicating with recipients who do not require longterm access to patient or employee health information.
Message Audit – See when messages are forwarded and revoke access at any point to ensure that only authorized recipients can access PHI.
Customer-Hosted Encryption Keys – Virtru’s Customer Key Server (CKS) allows agencies and other organizations to choose where their encryption keys are located. As a result, they can ensure that keys stay within the United States, while also preventing third party cloud providers from ever accessing their unencrypted data.
Search and E-Discovery – Unlike S/MIME and PGP, Virtru’s client-side encryption keeps messages searchable and exportable for Freedom of Information Act requests, audits, or other e-discovery requirements.
Have more questions about HIPAA encryption requirements?
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org today to speak with one of our compliance experts.