There is a lot to discuss within Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) compliance these days. This can be especially true within the healthcare industry, where HIPAA compliance is a must for any organization that comes into contact with protected health information (PHI). If you’re using Microsoft’s office suite at your organization you may wonder: is OneDrive HIPAA Compliant?
Here’s what you need to know, in brief:
OneDrive is fully HIPAA compliant and can be used to store, share, and collaborate on PHI. OneDrive is a cloud-based storage app that is part of the Microsoft Office 365 suite of products and offers the same comprehensive security features that meet all Tier-D compliance standards.
Although Microsoft keeps the security of OneDrive at the forefront, using OneDrive for PHI is still subject to some additional compliance considerations. Organizations are required to agree to a business associate agreement (BAA) with Microsoft in order to use OneDrive for PHI.
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What is HIPAA, And How Does It Affect Privacy?
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) is a law that was enacted in August 1996 with the primary goal of providing privacy protections for patients’ health information. The law also includes provisions to improve the portability and continuity of health insurance coverage.
Under HIPAA, covered entities – which include healthcare providers, insurers, and clearinghouses – must protect the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of PHI. They must also ensure that PHI is properly disposed of when no longer needed.
Covered entities that fail to comply with HIPAA can be subject to civil and criminal penalties. Civil penalties can range from $100 to $50,000 per violation, with a maximum of $1.5 million per year for repeat violations. Using OneDrive in an appropriate manner will help your organization avoid any penalties.
What Is Microsoft OneDrive?
Microsoft OneDrive is a popular cloud-based storage service that is part of the Microsoft 365 suite of products. The program is compatible with multiple third-party applications and allows its users to store and share files online. OneDrive is able to be accessed from any device with an internet connection, making it a convenient way to share and access files.
The direct integration of OneDrive into the Microsoft 365 suite of products makes it a powerful tool for collaboration. OneDrive allows users to share files and work on them together in real-time. Users can also leave comments on files, which is perfect for team projects.
Communications are also stored in the cloud, which means they can be accessed from anywhere. OneDrive also offers granular security controls, making it a safe and secure way to store and share sensitive information.
Is OneDrive HIPAA Compliant?
OneDrive is fully HIPAA compliant and can be used to store, share, and collaborate on PHI. Although there are some incidents in which compliance has been breached; these have often been as a result of negligence of use by the operator.
The security features of OneDrive meet all Tier-D compliance standards, making it a secure way to store and share PHI. In order to use OneDrive for PHI, organizations must have a business associate agreement (BAA) in place with Microsoft.
Ensuring the necessary requirements are being met by the individual is more important than any other factor when it comes to compliance while using OneDrive.
How to Ensure OneDrive is Used in a HIPAA Compliant Way
Microsoft offers a very secure platform with OneDrive; however, it is the responsibility of the organization to ensure that OneDrive is used in a HIPAA-compliant way.
Professionals businesses should have policies and procedures in place that govern the use of OneDrive and PHI. These policies should address topics such as user access, file sharing, and security measures.
Training staff to use OneDrive in a HIPAA-compliant way is also essential. Staff should be aware of the policies and procedures that must be followed when using OneDrive. They should also know how to properly secure PHI when storing it in OneDrive.
Organizations should also have a plan in place for what to do if there is a data breach. An ideal plan should include steps for how to report the breach and how to mitigate any damage that has been done.
OneDrive can be a valuable tool for any organization that must securely share and store files. By taking the necessary steps to ensure compliance, organizations can avoid any penalties they may incur for non-compliance.
What Type Of Organizations Can Benefit From OneDrive?
Committing to a cloud-based strategy can be very beneficial for any industry for a variety of reasons. As we have seen, OneDrive is a secure way to store and share files. It is also convenient to access files from any device with an internet connection.
Although HIPAA compliance is especially important in the healthcare industry, any organization that works with PHI can benefit from using OneDrive. This includes organizations in the legal, financial, and education industries.
Any covered entity or business associate within the healthcare industry can use OneDrive to store and share PHI.
Some of the most popular applications within health include:
- Hospitals: Hospitals can take full advantage of sharing X-rays, patient records, and other files internally and with patients.
- Insurance Companies: The sharing of policy information
- Clinics: Doctors and nurses can easily share patient files, test results, and more. More transparency allows for better communication and faster treatment.
- Laboratories: Test results and other files can be quickly shared with patients and doctors, cutting down on waiting time.
These are just a few examples of how OneDrive can be used in a HIPAA-compliant way within the healthcare industry. Any organization that needs to share files securely can benefit from using OneDrive and transitioning to a cloud-based strategy.
What Does OneDrive Cost?
Anyone who already owns a Microsoft 365 subscription can start using OneDrive for free. This includes students, teachers, and businesses.
If you do not have a Microsoft 365 subscription, you may find the Microsoft 365 subscription fee to be worth it when you consider all the features and benefits you get with OneDrive and the rest of the Microsoft Apps that come with it. But if you don’t want a Microsoft 365 license, you can still get a paid version of OneDrive for your healthcare business right here:
It is a secure way to store and share files and a convenient way to access your files from practically any device as long as you are connected to the internet.
Microsoft is one of the largest technology brands on the market, and they hold a high standard for security. When you subscribe to OneDrive, you can be confident that your files are stored securely and compliantly.
Is OneDrive The Right Tool For Your Business?
There are a variety of advantages that come with using OneDrive for businesses. These advantages include:
- Security: OneDrive is a secure way to store and share files. This is especially important for businesses that work with sensitive data.
- Compliance: OneDrive is compliant with industry-specific regulations, such as HIPAA. This means that businesses can avoid any penalties they may incur for non-compliance.
- Convenience: OneDrive is a convenient way to access files from any device with an internet connection. Being connected like this makes it easy for businesses to share files internally and with clients.
- Cost-effective: OneDrive is included with a Microsoft 365 subscription. This makes it a cost-effective solution for anyone that needs a secure way to store and share files.
When it comes to choosing file storage and sharing solutions for your business, OneDrive is a great option. It is secure, compliant, and convenient. It is also cost-effective, which makes it a wise investment for any business.
If you value accessibility for storage and security for your information, it’s clear to see that OneDrive is a valuable tool for businesses. It is an investment that can save you time, money, and hassle in the long run.
If you are looking for a secure way to store and share files, then OneDrive is the right solution for your business. We hope that this article has helped you understand the benefits of using OneDrive and how it can help your healthcare business stay HIPAA compliant while leveraging cloud storage.