How to keep your healthcare data HIPAA compliant with rich edit history

July 20, 2022

Jordan Chavis

With HIPAA and privacy laws becoming more and more stringent over the years, data security has become a critical factor in maintaining compliance. Implementing databases with robust edit history functions can play a pivotal role in protecting the integrity of medical data. This is especially important for hospitals, physician's offices, and third-party medical data services that manage and work with protected information.

While many organizations are aware of the importance of complete edit histories, only a few have implemented database solutions for this purpose. This can be due to misconceptions about these functions' capabilities, or because they are unaware of how edit history functions are essential to protecting their patients' privacy.

What are rich edit history functions in a database?

In a nutshell, edit history functions help create traceable records of changes made to the data stored in a database. This often involves identifying who made the change, when (and sometimes why) it was made, and tracking what changes were made.

More importantly, these functions allow administrators to safely track any manual changes made to their data (instead of automatically updating or overwriting). Rich edit history functions enable organizations to monitor users' activities in real-time and reveal potential HIPAA violations before they happen.

HIPAA requires that any use or disclosure of protected health information (PHI) be documented. There must be a record of when PHI was accessed by who and what they did with it. Audit history functions in a database solution can provide this record while protecting PHI.

The role of edit history functions in maintaining data integrity

Compliance with data privacy laws and HIPAA is essential in protecting patient data. This is especially critical when over 29 million healthcare records were breached in 2020 alone. Using a database with audit log functions ensures the consistency of the data by providing a chronological record of changes to the data over time. Besides, edit history functions in a database can not only provide proof of compliance but also enable administrators to:

Detect and correct manual errors

One of the greatest benefits of having a full audit trail is that it can help organizations easily find instances where information may have been compromised by human error. Unintentional human errors such as typos, data entry mistakes, or incorrect information can be quickly addressed before the problem worsens.

Since any data keyed into a database can be traced back to who did it and when, the audit log functions in a database can help identify and fix these instances. This prevents illegal access to PHI as well as unauthorized changes to data.

Find employees that may need training for proper information handling

Proper data handling is one of the most important aspects of maintaining compliance with HIPAA. By identifying employees who are making errors, organizations can correct these mistakes and make sure each employee's training needs are met.

This can help keep your company compliant with the law and reduce the risk of potential data breaches. Besides, It's much easier (and more cost-effective) for the company to train their own employees than deal with the aftermath of a data breach that can happen when PHI is mishandled.

Identify problems with compliance and/or security

A single data breach on health care records can result in penalties that range from a minimum of $100 up to $50,000 per person whose records were compromised. Robust edit history functions can help organizations proactively monitor their data and ensure that PHI is not compromised.

Whether it's a ransomware attack, network intrusion, or just an employee making unauthorized changes to data, audit log functions can help detect unauthorized activity. If there are any anomalies to be found (such as unusual data access or instances of manual errors), edit history functions can help reveal these problems and identify them before data is compromised.

Ensures data compliance and validity

Having a full audit trail of changes is essential in ensuring that data is up-to-date, accurate, and compliant with HIPAA regulations. This includes making sure PHI is not compromised or accidentally accessed by unauthorized personnel. A reliable rich history function provides the ability to easily track user activity and focus your security efforts on the right data sets.

This reduces the risk of HIPAA violations and helps administrators identify any gaps in their data security. Moreover, audit history functions are critical in assisting administrators in taking appropriate actions in case of a data breach.

Monitor user activities in real-time

With a centralized database, data is accessed by many users regularly. This means that there is always the threat of human error, whether accidental or intentional. Having an audit trail in place allows administrators to monitor user activities in real-time and prevent data from being compromised.

This allows immediate response to any errors and reduces the risk of PHI exposure. Audit history functions can help identify any unauthorized access to data and ensure that the database is being used by authorized personnel only.

Building your ideal database with rich edit history

Proper data handling, compliance with HIPAA, and rich edit history functions can help your healthcare organization meet all data processing needs. Not only does having a complete audit trail ensure that PHI is protected at all times, but it can also help monitor user activities to prevent data breaches. With edit history functions in place, your organization can minimize the risk of data breaches and help avoid legal liabilities.

Basedash provides a complete enterprise platform that can help you seamlessly manage and use all of your data to make the right decisions. Our solution is built upon a centralized database that includes audit log functions for full auditing and proof of compliance. This ensures that data is accurate, consistent, and compliant with all regulations.

As a bonus, Basedash is a human-friendly database editor that allows you to fix typos quickly, tweak permissions, update user info and manage feature flags without building a custom dashboard or new API endpoints.

[Contact us]( today to learn more about our platform and how we can help you meet all of your healthcare database and internal tool needs.

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