Compliance Guide Guide

How SharkStriker helps you become HIPAA compliant? 

HIPAA Compliance

How SharkStriker helps you become HIPAA compliant? 

What is HIPAA compliance?  

HIPAA, or Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, was passed in 1996 to prohibit discrimination against beneficiaries based on preexisting health conditions and for those workers to carry forward their healthcare insurance as they move across organizations in their careers.  

It was to prevent health insurance companies from increasing the premiums and deductibles.  In today’s context, HIPAA connotes information security of health information, privacy, and notifying the authorities in case of a data breach. The focus of the act shifted due to the rising number of data breaches and frauds in healthcare organizations. According to a congressional report released before HIPAA, over 10% of all spending was lost due to fraud.  HIPAA primarily is aimed towards the security and privacy of all sensitive patient data such that it is not disclosed without the consent of patients.

Why are HIPAA guidelines important?

HIPAA compliance ensures that healthcare organizations mitigate the risk of data breaches and fraud by providing detailed guidelines that comprise cybersecurity best practices.

By implementing the guidelines recommended by HIPAA, organizations reap the following business benefits:   

Ensures fundamental cybersecurity posture 

HIPAA recommends some of the best practices in the industry for information security. By following the guidelines, healthcare organizations can keep up with the evolving cyber threats and implement measures to keep their cybersecurity posture ready against modern threats.  

It provides a definitive guide on how to be prepared against cyber incidents like data breaches. It assists healthcare organizations in taking measures to secure their most sensitive and confidential healthcare data. It also establishes the necessary reporting mechanisms in the case of breach so the authorities can take action against the perpetrators.    

Mitigates information security risk 

Healthcare organizations are under constant pressure to keep the most sensitive and confidential patient data safe from cyber criminals who are always looking to steal their data.  The speedy digital transformation has broadened where and how data is stored. It has increased information security risks. HIPAA recommends some of the best practices in information security. It offers detailed guidance on securing protected health information (PHI).   

Incident Response measures  

HIPAA requires organizations to have incident response measures and report incidents to the Office for Civil Rights (OCR).  As per HIPAA guidelines, organizations take proactive measures for damage control in case of a cyber-attack, securing their most sensitive patient data.  Large-scale breaches that affect 500 or more individuals are to be reported compulsorily within 60 days once discovered to OCR, all the affected parties, and the media. The same applies to breaches that have affected less than 500 individuals. These breaches must be reported 60 days within discovery. 

Improves trust and loyalty of the brand  

HIPAA guidelines comprise some of the best practices in cybersecurity, and organizations that implement all the security measures, controls, policies, and guidelines automatically possess a healthy cybersecurity posture. Trust is the most vital factor in healthcare. By keeping the most sensitive patient data secure, organizations improve the trust of their brand, increasing loyalty across their clients.   

Improves Profitability because of improved brand trust 

By enhancing customer trust, organizations profit as more people trust their brand. They will continue using their services and become more loyal to the brand. There is a significant increase in revenue from businesses retaining more clients.  It decreases reliance on new clients for profit.   

Acts as a business differentiator  

Through the identification, assessment, and implementation of recommendations by HIPAA, organizations display enhanced cybersecurity. It differentiates them from many competitors, leading to a competitive advantage. It draws more customers to their business compared to other competitors.   

Other benefits 

Apart from the above business benefits, HIPAA provides the following benefits for business: 

  • Builds a culture of trust through a boost of staff morale, making way for improved rates of retention of the workforce  
  • It ensures better privacy of all the patient healthcare information, reducing the possibility of CMS penalties and readmissions of patients. 
  • It assists in the standardization of operations, leading to increased efficiency. 

To whom does it apply to?  

HIPAA applies to all the individuals, institutions, or organizations responsible for digitally transmitting health information subjected to the standards published by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). It applies to all entities subjected to HIPAA compliance rules consisting of entities that mostly fall under healthcare providers, health plans and healthcare clearing houses. 

What are the business challenges of becoming HIPAA compliant? 

Growth in healthcare data 

There is rapid growth in the healthcare industry. The projected CAGR growth of the healthcare sector was around 18.6% from 2023 to 2030. It has led to an increase in the organizations in the healthcare sector, leading to more collection, processing, storage, and management of data.  It has become a challenge for organizations to implement all the security measures such as controls, technology, policies, and procedures as recommended in the HIPAA guidelines.   

Rapid digital transformation 

As digital transformation has taken over organizations rapidly, increased patients are accessing their data through mobile, tablets, and laptops. It has changed how data storage, collection and processing is done. They are also integrating cloud for data, using electronic health record systems (EHR) to manage data. It has become a challenge for them to balance increased digital transformation and compliance.   

Attackers have started evolving their techniques 

Cyber attackers keep evolving their techniques and have started using sophisticated attacks, aiming for the most sensitive information assets. They are spending more time understanding their targets, using techniques not only persistent but also undetectable by standalone measures.  It makes sensitive patient data assets highly exposed to the risk of cyberattacks. Without a dedicated team for addressing cybersecurity and compliance challenges, healthcare organizations face an increased challenge to secure their information assets. They are unable to take the recommended measures as per HIPAA.    

There is an increased in demand for data privacy and security  

As cyber threats evolve and become more frequent, patients have become more concerned about their information security and are demanding organizations implement measures to keep their health-specific data secure. It increases pressure to implement all the measures necessary to become HIPAA compliant.    

Constantly changing regulatory environment – HIPAA regulations  

The regulatory environment highly volatile, meaning there is periodical upgradation of guidelines and keeping up with the regulations. Organizations struggle with keeping up with the updates in guidelines because they have a limited team for cybersecurity and compliance, it puts them at risk of non-compliance. The consequence of non-compliance can be costly for businesses, both in terms of money and reputation. 

What are some of the biggest HIPAA violation cases in 2023 (examples)

Here are some of the biggest HIPAA violations in 2023: 

St Joseph Medical Center 

The non-profit academic medical center was charged a whopping $80000 fine for HIPAA privacy violation by disclosing some Protected Healthcare Information to a media reporter. The reporter was given access clients’ clinical information without their consent.    

Doctor Management Services 

Doctor Management Services (DMS), a medical management company, paid a $100000 fine to the OCR for not taking proactive measures to prevent a ransomware attack. They failed to detect the intrusion until the ransomware had already encrypted the sensitive files, consisting of data of around 206,695 patients in December 2018.     

LA care Health plan  

LA Health Plan, an organization that provided health coverage for low-income LA residents, was found to have committed multiple HIPAA violations. These violations included a lack of comprehensive risk analysis, insufficient security measures, insufficient review of information systems activity review, insufficient evaluation in response to environmental operational changes, and impermissible disclosure of ePHI of 1498 individuals. 

United healthcare 

United Healthcare provided health insurance as a part of the United Group. HIPAA found that they have failed to provide patients with a record that requested HIPAA Right of Access was violated by United Healthcare for which it was $80000.   

IHealth Solutions dba Advantum health 

IHealth Solutions was a Kentucky-based healthcare services provider that became a victim of a breach in 2017. They faced a penalization of $75,000 for failing to secure a server that resulted in the ePHI theft of 267 individuals.

HIPAA Non-compliance consequences  

All HIPAA violations are categorized into four. If an organization, based on thorough investigation, violates any of the HIPAA, then they will be imposed with the penalty based on the Tier that they fall under.  

Some general factors that dictate the penalty are the history of violations, the organization’s financial health, and the degree of damage done through the violation.   

  • Tier 1: $100 per violation for every violation up to $50,000  
  • Tier 2: $1,000 per violation up to $50,000  
  • Tier 3: $10,000 per violation up to $50,000  
  • Tier 4: $50,000 per violation   

Highest fines paid for HIPAA in 2023 

HIPAA is one of the regulations with high penalties for violations and non-compliance. Here are some of the highest HIPAA fines ever paid:  

  • $16 million – Anthem Inc. for data breach  
  • $6.8 million – Premera Blue Cross  
  • $5.5 million – Advocate Health Care  

How SharkStriker help you become HIPAA compliant? 

Businesses today face an increased challenge of keeping up with the rising threats while being compliant. They address their cybersecurity and compliance challenges with limited teams that often lack the skillset to meet the growing demands of a constantly evolving threat environment and highly volatile compliance landscape. One of the most faced challenges is balancing between compliance and cybersecurity.  Businesses often find themselves in a deadlock. They have to manage multiple vendors to meet all their cybersecurity and compliance needs.  

It is where SharkStriker comes into the picture. We offer a dedicated team of cybersecurity and compliance experts who provide organizations with a one-stop solution to all their cybersecurity and compliance challenges.   

Gap Assessment 

We conduct a comprehensive multi-level compliance gaps assessment across the organization to determine the non-compliant areas.   

Risk Treatment Plan 

Based on gaps assessment, we prepare a detailed plan to treat risks across the infrastructure encompassing all the endpoints, IoT, and cloud environment. The risk treatment consists of all the security measures, rules, policies, controls, and procedures to be implemented.   


The next step is implementing the risk treatment plan with the right resources, people, processes, technology, and expertise.   

Post Implementation Assessment  

To ensure that no gaps left out in the risk treatment plan, we conduct a post-implementation audit. Upon finding any gaps, we take measures to fill the gaps. 

Training and Awareness 

Since lack of awareness is one of the leading causes of cyber-attacks and human error remains one of the primary causes of non-compliance, we take steps to fill the gaps in awareness, including preparation of training and awareness campaigns.   

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