The Key Characteristics of HIPAA-Compliant Accounting Software
For healthcare accounting to be effective, you need a software solution that can help you comply with HIPAA standards and other regulations. Without the right accounting software, it can be nearly impossible to achieve both HIPAA-compliance and good accounting practices, and to top it all off you can always count on future regulations to introduce new challenges in your processes.
What are the top challenges of nonprofit healthcare organizations? According to this 2017 Nonprofit Healthcare Innovation Report infographic:
- 64% say manual, time-consuming reporting is a concerning issue
- 57% believe lack of real-time visibility into KPIs slows decisions
- 57% feel multiple, disconnected systems cause inefficiency
An ERP system designed for healthcare organizations can alleviate these issues, but beware—not all ERP publishers are HIPAA-compliant. There’s also no official encompassing “HIPAA-Compliant” certification that proves whether a solution is a good fit. However, there are definitely some features that a software solution should have in order for your accounting to successfully comply.
Here are 5 key characteristics you should look for in a HIPAA-compliant accounting solution:
- Audit Trail Capabilities for PHI Security
HIPAA-compliant organizations need software that automatically tracks all access to protected health information (PHI). Regardless of where the access point is, your financial solution should keep a record of every single instance in which information containing PHI is accessed. By using software that automatically monitors and records this information, you can guarantee to complete PHI protection as you track the financial and operational metrics needed to keep your organization successful.
- Control Over User Roles
A software solution that will help your accounting meet HIPAA standards should include the ability to limit the roles of specific users. While this is a good security feature for businesses in any industry, it’s particularly critical for healthcare organizations as they’re receiving, processing, and transmitting protected information.
- Top-Notch Cybersecurity
A good audit trail is great, but you also need to keep PHI secure from attacks and leaks. HITECH Act guidelines encourage healthcare providers to encrypt data – your solution should have this in mind in the design of the software. Ideally, your accounting solution should be certified by a reputable cybersecurity firm with HIPAA-specific compliance guidelines. In this instance, cloud-based software is often more secure than on-premises solutions, because the data hosts can provide far more advanced server security than most healthcare entities.
- Business Associate Contracts
When you buy or subscribe to accounting software, the software solution provider or vendor should be willing to make an official commitment to meet HIPAA compliance requirements. A quality vendor will be willing to sign a Business Associate contract ensuring they’ll comply with HIPAA standards and keep your organization’s data safe during data migration, tech support, and consulting.
- A Long-Term Commitment to Meeting New Regulatory Standards
The software solution provider you choose should demonstrate that they’re focused on continuing to provide effective solutions for healthcare organizations. You want to feel comfortable knowing, as regulations change and new accounting challenges are created, your software solution vendor will continue to develop new functionality and apply upgrades to meet these needs.
Curious to know more about HIPAA-compliant accounting software options? Learn more about Sage Intacct’s excellent features for healthcare organizations, or contact us to get the perspective of a technology provider with over 30 years of experience.