Developers and HIPAA

Ransomeware Attack

I just heard that a practice in our area had a ransomware attack. Based upon their investigation their manager stated that the hacker did not get access to the PHI data and therefore did not need to report to patients or the Dept. of HHS. I question their judgement since I'm not certain if they can tell even tell if the only thing the hacker did was lock them out access to their patient PHI and didn't also create an... more »

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Developers and HIPAA

Data Masking in EMR

Data masking or controlled access provides a means for patients to control disclosure of select information within the
EHR. http://www.nature.com/gim/journal/v10/n7/pdf/gim200876a.pdf
Can patients request that access to sensitive data be controlled? Can patients request that only certain people can access their PHI? Can they request an audit of how their data has been shared by a covered entity? If so, do (or should)... more »

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Developers and HIPAA

Implementations with external services & Testing

When implementing external services with clients (such as exposing an API to external clients), are there any HIPAA rules/regulations around testing the implementation in a non-prod environment before going live in production? Are there any concerns with PHI or security with testing an implementation (of say an API with an external client) directly in a production environment?

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Developers and HIPAA

Are We a Covered Entity?

A business associate provides no medical advice, medical services, medical devices, etc. But it talks to patients of the covered entity. Those patients tell the business associate what prescriptions they have for prescription drugs and when they must be refilled. The business associate faxes the refill request to the pharmacy. Does that make the business associate a covered entity?

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Developers and HIPAA

Unencrypted PHI in the Cloud

From Kevin Wiggins, Saul Ewing: If a CE puts PHI on the Cloud and later terminates that Cloud as a service provider, there is inevitably some data remanence, thus leaving PHI on the Cloud. NIST Special Publication 800-80 addresses this by suggesting CEs use crypto-erase. What if the CE previously sent unencrypted PHI to the Cloud? Is it as simple as extending the protections of the contract to the information and... more »

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Developers and HIPAA

Provider suggested use of an App - there is a breach

A provider or a wellness management company, which are both subject to HIPAA because they collect and house PHI. If that provider or wellness provider suggest to a patient that they use an app (the app was not developed for them and there has been no communication with the app company that the providers are going to use the app) to gather health data to share with them and the app company suffers a breach of information.... more »

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Developers and HIPAA

Are we HIPAA compliant distributed team.

We are a small startup team that is distributed nationwide. To date everyone has used their own personal computers to login into work email, etc. Is it a requirement that we purchase and make all of our employees use only their work computers for development and access to our db? It's understood that we need a robust password policies and defined lists of who has access to any sensitive data where ever they may be.

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Developers and HIPAA

EHR Role-Based Controls

What kind of limitations on role-based access does an EHR have to provide in order to comply with the “minimum necessary” standard? For example, if an employee only needs demographic or scheduling information to fulfill their job, does the EHR have to include mechanisms to prevent that employee from accessing other clinical information, or is having audit capability (combined with staff training and written policies)... more »

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Developers and HIPAA

Offshore development and customer support

Does HIPAA have any restrictions on offshore development and/or customer support functions if the parent company is based in U.S. and/or if the foreign entity is owned and/or controlled by an entity based in U.S.?

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Developers and HIPAA

What is BAA to do with stored patient health info

The scenario is this: A private health clinic (PHC) signs up online to use a web-based EHR application to create patient charts, schedule patients, provide a patient portal, etc. - classic practice management tasks. The EHR vendor has a BAA with a company which hosts its web application and the encrypted database. My question is, what happens to the PHC's electronically stored ePHI if the PHC's account is cancelled and/or... more »

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Developers and HIPAA

Clarify the definition of PHI for online consumer interactions

I see a great deal of variation from organization to organization on what constitutes PHI in the digital realm. I have several scenarios that I'd like your thought on:
- Is public website browsing behavior considered PHI as is suggested in the current Winston Smith V. Facebook case (http://digitalcommons.law.scu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=2175&context=historical)? This could impact a number of common services used... more »

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Developers and HIPAA

When are end-user disclosures to a subcontractor not incidental?

I'm a compliance consultant for early stage startups with tight budgets. I'm not sure how to advise them regarding BAAs for third-party services such as customer support ticketing that aren't meant to collect PHI, but may incidentally. (E.g. "[Covered entity] entered my profile information wrong and I don't know how to change it. It should say...") These subcontractors meet the NIST definition of a cloud service provider,... more »

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