HIPAA web hosting is no longer an option but a necessity for healthcare providers who want to remain compliant with the HIPAA guidelines. HIPAA hosting should provide technical and physical safeguards to ensure patient information is protected when it is transmitted. WordPress is one of the most popular content management systems allowing for convenient and easy creation of websites. What used to be a dedicated blogging platform has recently become the preferred CMS platform for businesses website hosting. If your organization deals with protected healthcare data there are several considerations you need to make when using WordPress for HIPAA hosting.
Business Associate Agreements
Generally, WordPress does not sign business associate agreements with entities that need to comply with HIPAA. However, this does not rule out the fact that WordPress can be used in the healthcare sector. If you intend to create a website or blog where you share content with patients, then you can use WordPress. The downside to this is that you cannot upload any patient health information or schedule appointments with sensitive patient details via WordPress. For this, you will need to store the data separately and access it using a secure third-party. What this means is that you would need to a business associate agreement with the third party to provide the integration service.
The Use of WordPress for HIPAA Protected Websites
WordPress is not designed to be compliant with HIPAA standards. Making the platform compliant is a tedious and complicated process. Additionally, there have been security concerns with WordPress in the past over common vulnerabilities. Even a secure third party integration to WordPress can become exploited due to the vulnerabilities of shared WordPress hosting providers (the most common type of WordPress hosting). However, it is possible to make WordPress HIPAA compliant with a dedicated HIPAA compliant hosting company. These web hosts are held to strict regulatory guidelines. You’ll want to ensure a WordPress host is SOC 2 TYPE II and SOC 3 TYPE II certified, as well as HIPAA and HITECH audited, in addition to being designed for security from the ground up.
Undeniably, WordPress is a simple way to create and manage your website. However, the inherent security features do not fully support HIPAA compliance. We cannot stress the importance of a certified and audited HIPAA compliant hosting provider, especially if you are running WordPress for your organization. The following are some standard security features to look for in a web host:
An ePHI breach could cause serious harm to your healthcare facility. HIPAA compliant hosting gives you privacy by having patient information data stored on a cloud environment. The people who have access to patient information is also controlled, and in case of a breach, the source can be quickly identified.
Cloud hosting comes with anti-malware and anti-virus software to secure the servers. These hosting companies stay up to date with any emerging threat profiles and will run regular checks and updates to ensure that your system is secure and compliant.
SSL Certs are used by hosting companies to keep communications safe. These include texts, emails and server information. This is done in compliance with HIPAA safeguards.
Singling out potential threats to your site is time-consuming and tedious. With a qualified HIPAA provider, then you also get intruder alerts. These are scanners that detect suspicious patterns even before they corrupt your data. Hosting services also come with a team of security analysts to help you flag all potential threats to your website and patient information.
Bottom Line: Patient information should be kept safe. The cost of not selecting the right web host can cripple your organization financially. This is why a HIPAA compliant hosting company is crucial to your adherence to the federal patient privacy standards.