This week has seen the launch of a new platform that streamlines the process of searching for HIPAA-compliant business associates. The HIPAA Alliance Marketplace has been developed to match HIPAA covered entities with trusted vendors that have been independently verified as HIPAA-compliant.
Healthcare organizations are required to comply with Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act Rules, and so too must their business associates. If a vendor does not agree to abide by HIPAA Rules, their products and services cannot be used.
For healthcare organizations, searching for HIPAA-compliant business associates can be a challenge. A simple Google search will produce a long list of potential vendors, but determining whether they are prepared to sign a business associate agreement (BAA) and implement safeguards to ensure the confidentiality, integrity and availability of PHI can be a time-consuming process.
When a vendor is found, a business associate agreement must be signed, confirming HIPAA Rules are understood and will be followed. However, even if a vendor agrees to sign a BAA that is not sufficient. The BAA must be verified as being HIPAA-compliant, which usually requires approval from an attorney. Finding HIPAA-compliant business associates can therefore be a time-consuming, frustrating, and costly process.
The HIPAA Alliance Marketplace offers an easy solution. Founded by the Compliancy Group, the HIPAA Alliance Marketplace is the first tool of its kind for the healthcare industry – a database of trusted vendors that have been verified as being HIPAA-compliant.
In order for a vendor to be included in the HIPAA Alliance Marketplace, they must agree to an audit to establish that they have implemented all the necessary safeguards to secure any supplied protected health information. They must have established HIPAA policies and procedures, and their BAA must meet HIPAA requirements. After passing an assessment, the vendor will be issued with a Compliancy Group HIPAA Seal of Approval and will be added to the HIPAA Alliance Marketplace.
Healthcare organizations that sign up with the HIPAA Alliance Marketplace can search for a broad range of certified HIPAA-compliant business associates, saving valuable time, money and hassle finding suitable service providers and product developers. Currently, the Marketplace includes software and app developers, hosting companies, billing and collection agencies, insurers, printing and mailing firms, IT and Managed Service Providers (MSPs), EHRs, practice management and patient engagement solutions and much more.
The Marketplace also has significant benefits for vendors, helping them to establish themselves in the healthcare space and attract more healthcare clients.
“In the past, using HIPAA compliance to differentiate my business has opened up new segments of the health care market in ways I couldn’t have imagined–and now the HIPAA Alliance Marketplace is making HIPAA compliance more valuable than ever before. The Marketplace allows us to focus on increasing cyber-security and providing services for future clients. And the closed-ecosystem of HIPAA compliant vendors reduces the liability for all parties involved so you can focus on growing your business,” said Jerry Godwin of Optometric Medical Solutions (OMS).