Ensure Your Medical Start-Up Is HIPAA Compliant with These Tips
Considering the COVID-19 pandemic, people are focusing on their health more than ever before. More money is being invested into medical research and the medical start-up industry is booming. In 2020 and 2021, the digital healthcare sector broke all previous records for fundraising and early adoption of technologies.
Rock Health states that the digital healthcare market is an entrepreneur’s playing field, with people turning to medical technology to monitor and diagnose their health. The rise of health monitoring wearables, apps, and online diagnosis sites makes the med-tech market an attractive prospect for medical start-ups.
If you are thinking of launching a start-up in med-tech, here are somethings you need to know.
What is Med-Tech?
Med-tech or medical technology is defined by the World Health Organization as the “application of organized knowledge and skills in the form of devices, medicines, vaccines, procedures, and systems developed to solve a health problem and improve quality of lives.” In layman’s terms, medical technology is any solution or service that works to improve people’s health.
What is HIPAA and the Importance of Legal Compliance
Any medical start-up that has online accounts, databases with patient info, or provides online billing services has a responsibility to protect patient health information.
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) protects the storage and sharing of U.S. citizens’ personal data. To date, HIPAA isn’t a legal requirement for all med-tech start-ups but you need to ensure you are complying with HIPAA regulations, statistics, and best practices.
One way to do this as a medical start-up is to use a data management platform that is HIPPA compliant such as Lyftrondata or something similar.
How to Ensure You are Complying with HIPAA Practices
Any medical start-up must practice due diligence and respect patients’ data and confidentiality. Here are 4 ways you can ensure you are complying with HIPAA practices:
- Ensure Regular and Encrypted Data Backups: HIPAA requires medical companies to maintain full, retrievable, and encrypted data backups of all electronic patient health records.
- Secure Communication Channels: HIPAA states that all communication must be secure including telephone, email, and fax. The medical facility must give the patient notice of the risks of communication and the patient must consent before that communication channel can be used. HIPAA suggests:
– Strong access controls for the devices sending and receiving texts
– Loss prevention for easily misplaced or stolen devices
- Comprehensive Risk Analysis: Medical start-ups are required to perform an organization-wide risk analysis. These should be completed regularly. For more detailed information on the risk analysis required, refer to the Health IT page.
- Hire Wisely and Set Up Staffing Systems: Getting the right team in place is fundamental to any successful medical start-up. Use a recruitment firm like MASC Medical to help your practice find the right candidates. One of the first steps after hiring is to set up a payroll system. For this, you will need to determine a regular pay schedule; therefore, ask new hires to fill out W-4s to determine withholdings. Don’t forget to manage records for tax reporting and keep all your payroll information organized.
HIPAA compliance and the security of patient and employee data are becoming more relevant as the digital market grows.
Make sure your medical start-up complies with HIPAA from the very beginning so you don’t have to make costly changes further down the line.