10 Things a Healthcare IT Provider Should Offer


Sep 1, 2020

For many healthcare practices struggling to keep up with the demands of technology, a managed network provider or managed IT services provider is an affordable and effective solution. With the number of IT service companies touting themselves as healthcare information security experts, it’s important to know what a good provider of IT Services should be offering healthcare practices.

For instance, many self-appointed gurus and companies claim that they are “HIPAA-certified” or “certified HIPAA compliant”. These certifications are not sanctioned by the Department of Health and Human Services. They are provided by external agencies and can be misleading. Oftentimes, these proclamations are the first sign of trouble. 

To help you know what to look for, we’ve put together this list of 10 things a Healthcare IT provider should offer:

1. Understanding of HIPAA and HITECH guidelines

Buyer beware, there are plenty of companies who claim they will help you stay compliant with HIPAA who have no idea what that actually entails. Meeting the technical requirements of the security rule requires more than technology: it requires an understanding of the security rule.

2. HIPAA compliance assessment

Managed IT providers who serve the healthcare industry should offer a comprehensive assessment that identifies potential threats and required action items to maintain compliance. The assessment should include a report and provide necessary steps to take control of your HIPAA compliance.

3.  Business associate agreement

IT providers who claim to be well-versed in healthcare needs will not hesitate to produce a signed business associate agreement. HIPAA requires you to obtain these agreements from any business that provides services to you, a covered entity, that might involve access to PHI – like an IT provider.

4. A firewall

Firewalls protect your network from unauthorized access. Your IT provider should equip you with a high quality professional firewall. Further, they should configure it to your requirements, ensuring that proper access is granted while unauthorized access is denied.

5. Secure email offering

Securing email service helps prevent unauthorized network access and trap spam and malware before it reaches the intended recipient on the network. This protects the network and sensitive patient information.

6. Email encryption service

Didn’t we just say that? Not quite. Email encryption is different than secure email. Where email security protects the email servers; encryption protects the message by making it unreadable to unauthorized parties. PHI cannot be sent via email unless it is encrypted.

7. Data Loss Prevention (DLP)

A good DLP should use a combination of filtering, monitoring, blocking and restoring to protect you from the loss of PHI and other sensitive data. A good DLP provider will continually monitor and manage your data to ensure it is secure at all times.

8. Data backup

HIPAA requires that all digital records be backed up and securely stored off site. Ideally, this will be in a secure data storage facility that is climate controlled and protected against natural disasters, theft and other calamities.

9. Secure copiers and printers

Copiers, printers and scanners are all workstations in the eyes of HIPAA. These devices often access the network and store information on their hard drives. If they are not properly secured, they can give bad actors easy access to protected health information.

10. Help desk

Having a help desk gives you a single place to contact if you experience problems with any of your network components. Using a healthcare Information Technology provider ensures that the Help Desk staff understands your specific needs in regards to HIPAA compliance and patient care.

A healthcare IT services provider should provide services that enhance your ability to comply with the technical component of the security rule of HIPAA and help you run efficiently and effectively as an organization.

Are you compliant with HIPAA? Let us help you find out. Milner's Managed IT services provide network risk assessments and in-depth HIPAA compliance analyses to help your organization identify risks and address them in the most cost-effective way possible. 24% of organizations that think they are 100% HIPAA compliant are not. Don't be one of them. Contact us online or call 800.875.5042.