In healthcare, websites are held to a higher standard. They must be more than engaging in design and helpful in content. Whether a private practice, or an enterprise-level health system, healthcare websites must ensure the HIPAA compliance valued in the office translates to a patients’ digital experience.

To be compliant, it’s essential to make sure protected health information (PHI) is safe at every point of interaction – from your landing page to your website.

Cox Health Marketing spoke with some of the top healthcare web development specialists in the country to help our clients better understand why protecting patient information matters.

At a Glance: Prepping Your Practice

Searches for how to keep a website HIPAA compliant are at an all-time high. That’s because translating the thousands of nuances out there is an intimidating thought!

At a basic level, the most important thing to keep in mind is that anything you and your practice would protect off the web, needs to be protected on the web as well. Just like you would never have a meeting about a patient case in public, or leave a patient file on a public bench, adequate measures need to be taken to secure patient information online.

Technical security and operating procedures must be in place everywhere data is transmitted and stored to ensure PHI privacy.

Keeping Your Patient Information Secure: Know the Basics

You don’t need to be a data encryption expert to have a working knowledge of security compliance. Start by having your website development team check security at these seven common points of weakness: 

  1. Transmission. PHI transmitted over the internet must be encrypted.
  2. Backup. PHI data must be backed up and protected via HIPAA-compliant methods.
  3. Authorization. Only authorized personnel can access PHI using unique controls.
  4. Integrity. Standard security technology keeps PHI safe from tampering.
  5. Storage Encryption. Stored PHI can only be accessed by using appropriate keys. 
  6. Disposal. Encrypted backups must expire and disappear as required.
  7. Business Associates. Vendors should sign a HIPAA Business Associate Agreement that says they will follow HIPAA security requirements. This includes:
  • Hosting providers;
  • Consultants;
  • Digital marketing firms;
  • Accountants; and
  • Other partners that have access to the data you collect.

Great Online Experiences for Every Patient

Remember: a HIPAA compliant website keeps PHI data private and secure throughout its collection, use, storage or transmission. Be aware of the need for built-in safeguards to help ensure patients have an experience that’s both friendly and safe.

We know that understanding healthcare website compliance can be tricky. At Cox Health Marketing, we’re dedicated to connecting you with the best strategy and resources needed to ensure your patients have exceptional experiences.