The healthcare industry is one of the most heavily regulated in the world due to the volume and sensitivity of the data entrusted to it. As data protection regulations grow more numerous and more stringent, companies must select and deploy solutions to ensure that they can maintain regulatory compliance and protect their sensitive data from unauthorized exposure.
Business Responsibilities Under Data Privacy Laws
The Health Insurance Portability and Accessibility Act (HIPAA) is the most famous regulation governing patient privacy within the US healthcare sector. HIPAA defines requirements for how healthcare providers and business associates should protect the patient data in their care.
However, the requirements of HIPAA are not limited to data protection. HIPAA also grants patients several rights regarding their data, including:
- Right to Access: The right to request a full copy of their protected health information collected by a healthcare provider.
- Right to Correction: The right to request that their stored data be modified to correct errors or add additional information.
- Right to Disclosure: The right to request a full list of the organizations to which a healthcare provider has disclosed their data.
- Right to Confidential Communication: The right to request confidential communication between themselves and their healthcare provider.
- Right to Complain: The right to register an official complaint regarding how their protected data is being collected, used, secured, etc.
This combination of data protection and subject rights is not uncommon among data protection regulations. Healthcare organizations within the US may be required to comply with a number of different laws, including:
- Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH)
- Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS)
- California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) and other state-level regulations
- General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) for patients who are EU citizens
Maintaining compliance with all of these regulations can be complicated. An essential component of data security and meeting deadlines for subject rights requests is continuous and complete data visibility.
The Impacts of Poor Data Visibility
A lack of visibility into an organization’s sensitive, personal, and protected data limits what it can do with this data. Two of the major impacts of poor data visibility are:
- Regulatory Non-compliance: An organization relying upon manual processes to identify and track data flows is likely to overlook essential data when implementing security controls and responding to subject rights requests. Additionally, an organization may miss essential deadlines when responding to a subject rights request or an audit. These errors can lead to penalties and lawsuits for failure to comply with applicable regulations.
- Increased Risk of Data Breaches: An organization can only protect data that it knows exists. A lack of data visibility increases the probability that data will accidentally be exposed to unauthorized users, leading to data breaches and their associated costs and reputational damage.
These are only some of the potential impacts of poor data visibility on an organization’s operations. Without knowledge of the data within an organization’s possession, the company cannot effectively make use of it. Full data visibility is essential to optimizing an organization’s business operations.
Data Flow Tracking is Essential for Data Protection
As organizations’ collections of sensitive data grow and regulatory requirements become more complex, relying upon manual processes to achieve and maintain visibility into an organization’s data is doomed to failure. These manual processes consume significant resources and risk of missing crucial deadlines.
1touch.io’s Inventa™ provides an effective and scalable solution to organizations’ data visibility challenges. It automatically identifies and tracks sensitive data flows throughout the organization enabling centralized visibility into where protected data is being stored, processed, and shared externally. This visibility empowers an organization to more effectively design and implement data protection strategies and easily respond to the data subject and auditor requests for data.