Introduction on Salesforce and HIPAA Compliance

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HIPAA stands for ‘The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability’. As per HIPAA, it was established in the year 1996 that all the data related to patients needs to be protected. All the electronic data managed by the health providers also falls in this category and it too needs to be protected as the US laws.

In order to help the leading, emerging or flourishing health care providers, there are specific tools which can be incorporated with CRM tools in order to make the data secure yet offer customized experience to the patients. With the right expertise in the healthcare industry, as well as technical knowledge around Salesforce, patient data can be stored safely and accessed easily.

Let us read more to get a better understanding of Salesforce and HIPAA compliance from the provider’s point of view.

Default Salesforce HIPAA compliance features: 

Salesforce comes with some of the important default HIPAA compliance features, also known as out-of-the-box features. Let us have a look at these: 

  • Salesforce is a cloud-based data storage, which in turn offers security benefits in a million ways. Be it issues related to hardware or server, cloud data is such that it cannot be affected or compromised in any such cases.   
  • Salesforce being a Business Associate under HIPAA, makes sure to provide proper compliance to all its clients and meet the obligations of being a Business Associate.  
  • For standard org access on Salesforce, all the connections must be HTTPS by default. By this, Salesforce maintains minimum standard security protocol. 

After these default Salesforce HIPAA compliance features as well as security features, there are many more customizable features one gets with Salesforce. All you need is the right understanding as well as expert help. Let us quickly read about these customizable features which can help us run our business better when it comes to Salesforce HIPAA compliance.   

Customizable Salesforce HIPAA compliance features:  

Apart from the baseline’s features, there are many more ways with which you can customize your Salesforce platform and prevent unwanted security breaches or in fact reduce the PHI data breach from the org.  

You can also prepare a data security checklist with the help of experts to make sure your Salesforce org is safe from probable cyber threats. Apart from that, when it comes to taking care of PHI data, some more steps can surely help you. Let us have a look at these:  

  1. Logging out automatically when the sessions, or strictly following the time-out sessions can help. 
  2. Salesforce login with autocomplete password and caching can be disabled, as this helps in preventing access to the important data in case the device is lost or stolen.
  3. PHI can be safe outside the sandbox as well as the test environment. This reduces the risk of accidental breach of the data from these orgs.    

Things you should know about HIPAA compliance as well as security 

Certain terms which are directly or indirectly related to HIPAA compliance are a must to know for you as a provider. Not just the US has such laws in place, rather Canada also has similar laws for protecting their patients as well as personal data in general apart from the healthcare sector known as PIPEDA. This means every organization has the responsibility to protect the personal data which is obtained after the consent of the individual. The data which is collected, used or disclosed, should be protected. With this understanding, the providers should make sure that they design their Salesforce or any other cloud solutions such that data privacy and security is ensured following these local laws based on the location. Let us read about some of the common terms which one should know about in detail when it comes to HIPAA compliance and security:   

PHI or Protected Health Information  

PHI or Protected Health Information refers to the health-related data of HIPAA-covered bodies as well as their employees, which is either created, stored, transmitted or received. This information covers everything, be it related to the past, present or future of the individual, be related to physical or mental health. It can also be related to the payment made in the past, present or to be made in future. The information could be in any form transmitted electronically or any other medium or stored over any medium, all of it falls under the law. 

PHIPA or Personal Health Information Protection Act 

PHIPA refers to the information protection laws in Canada. It is somewhat similar to PIPEDA; however, it also has some differences. It refers to the usage, collection as well as disclosure of personal health-related information while making sure that it is confidential, for the people within Ontario. It is meant for everyone coming under health information custodians and not just the organizations in commercial activities such as boards of health, health care practitioners, laboratories, hospitals, medical facilities, or pharmacies.         

PHI and Salesforce  

Salesforce stores the copied data of patients to be used in either Health Cloud or Service Cloud. This data is not susceptible to breaches or is not on low security, hence it is made sure that PHI is safeguarded for all such data which is being stored and used on any system of electronic medical record or EMR.   

Let us talk about Salesforce, a total win for HIPAA compliance. 

Businesses try to cut down their costs and this is one of the first areas considered by most of them. Decreasing the frequency of uploading and exporting the files to Salesforce could seem to be a solution for this. Nevertheless, this could invite security risks or might not keep your healthcare business in sync with HIPAA. Even when the data is moved from one application to another it needs to be done under the supervision of professionals to make sure it is not prone to security risks.   

One such product from Salesforce to help ensure HIPAA compliance is Salesforce Shield Product. This helps in adding security, transparency, governance, trust, and compliance for the business. Most of the configurable settings would need access permissions with this tool which in turn adds to the needed security for confidential data. Some other services offered by Salesforce Shield are Event Monitoring, platform encryption, field audit trail and a lot more to see how and where your data is being used. It prevents any malicious activity.     

Let us talk about these services and how it can help your data be safe and ensure HIPAA compliance.  

Platform Encryption

Shield Platform by Salesforce on the Salesforce platform, encryption is utilized to encrypt confidential data at rest. Any data saved in files, custom fields, spreadsheets, data warehouses, or databases can be accessed using this application. It also helps users follow the terms and conditions for storing private data in the cloud, as well as serving as proof of compliance with industry standards. The user has full control over encryption keys and can configure permissions to protect data from unauthorized access.  

The next service is Event Monitoring, let us dive deep to know about how Salesforce adds to HIPAA compliance with this service. 

Customers using Event Monitoring have a lot of visibility into their Salesforce applications and can keep track of everything that happens with their data. Every interaction is accessible through API, and the data may be imported into a number of different visualization tools. The event monitoring module can track when someone creates/edits a record, prints or refreshes a list, or changes ownership. With correct Troubleshooting processes and performance, optimization adds to improved user experience and aids in gaining a better knowledge of user adoption across software applications. 

Another service is Field Audit Trail, which makes sure that data is accessible by the users and still remains safe. 

Users can know the status of the data from any date and time with the help of the field audit trail service. This data can be utilized for auditing, corporate governance, regulatory compliance, or customer service. It allows users to save data and build an audit trail that spans up to ten years. The field audit trail feature can be used to assemble industry regulations relating to data retention and audit capability. 

HIPAA compliance makes sure that all the data security is met to the next level and the confidentiality standards are maintained well when it comes to healthcare. Salesforce not just adds features to the overall Healthcare systems but also makes it effortless to protect and manage voluminous data from any threat or suspicious cyber-attacks.  

Final Take on Salesforce HIPAA Compliance  

The Healthcare Sector demands speed, privacy as well as customized services to their patients. Be it remote access of information or offering personalized healthcare solutions to your clients, Salesforce Health Cloud has got you covered. All you need is the right assistance! Our experts are always ears to your business stories and provide you with the apt solution, such that you are able to cater to the needs of the clients keeping their data safe and secure.     

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