How to Ensure Security Compliance for Vendors

Posted by Brinna Hanson on May 26th, 2020
Author
Brinna Hanson
Brinna is a marketing professional and recent graduate of the University of Minnesota. Brinna joined Smart Data Solutions in 2019 to assist the marketing department reach new heights with a focus on the HubSpot inbound process. From her time at Smart Data as well as at previous internships, Brinna has been able to gain knowledge in many different aspects of marketing as a whole.

How To Ensure Security Compliance for Vendors

In our industry, we frequently work with third-party vendors, and without proper security compliance, we could face various problems or legal issues. Our mailroom at Smart Data Solutions processes 7 tons of mail per week—that is a lot of sensitive data flowing through our location that must be secured.

To ensure security compliance for vendors, there must be measures taken on both sides to protect sensitive member and provider information. The facility must also adhere to HIPAA compliant practices, industry-standard testing, and comprehensive training on security and preventing data breaches.

Before a Vendor Signs on to Work with You, Do These Things

Even before you sign any contracts or service level agreements, there are some things you should cover with a prospective vendor to set the expectation for security needs between both parties.

signing a vendor contract

HIPAA Certification

Any person or business that works in the healthcare industry or has access to sensitive patient materials has to be HIPAA compliant. This includes healthcare providers, insurance providers, employer group health plans, claims clearinghouses, business associates, third-party vendors, and more. A good sign of a potential vendor is a business with a long-standing record of meeting HIPAA requirements and has continuing education for all employees involved.

Review Security Protocols

In the same token as HIPAA compliance, vendors should have a sturdy system in place for security protocols for both prevention and mitigation of any data breach. A disorganized company could be high-risk for data breaches or a lack of compliance with security standards. Therefore, it is important to find out what security practices and protocols they have in place and whether or not they align with what is necessary for your business’s standards.

Consider a Vendor Risk Assessment 

Depending on the nature of the vendor and their work, they may have access to or be required to process your business’s sensitive information and data, systems, or facilities. This includes both PHI data and confidential business data. If the vendor does not have adequate security controls in place, it could put your customers or your business at great risk. It could be in a business’s best interest to have the vendor fill out a risk assessment or vendor questionnaire prior to hire to make sure you know what their security standards are and ways they would mitigate security risk if a situation were to arise. Based on the answers you can then decide their risk level and if you want to move forward with the agreement.

How to Ensure Security Compliance with New Vendors

You’ve gotten to the point where a vendor has signed on to work with you—now what? Here are a few services that not only help streamline a vendor’s workflows but ensure security compliance as well.

Consolidating Services

When a vendor has its service separated across different platforms and systems with different logins, that opens them up for a higher risk of data breach or failure. Imagine having to keep track of multiple different passwords, security systems, and more, all while transferring data between them. This creates an overwhelming amount of data points that could be better managed by consolidating.

Consolidating services into one easy-to-use platform, under one set of security controls can actually eliminate many of those common frustrations. As a consolidated vendor for many different services, Smart Data Solutions is able to navigate easily through workflows, while also being HITRUST certified making them able to provide highly secure measures, creating peace of mind between businesses and vendors alike.

Using AI to Automate Their Systems

The primary benefit of utilizing AI to automate systems is that it can reduce and even eliminate the need for manual entry, which means a lower risk of human error. Humans make up most, if not all, the reasons for a data breach.

By streamlining systems with the use of technology and artificial intelligence, data can go through fewer hands, in less time, and get to the end result much faster and more secure.

Improve and Increase Auto-Adjudication

We’ve talked in the past about the benefits of auto-adjudication within claims processing. Similar to using AI to automate your processes quicker, auto-adjudication allows the claims payments to reach the provider more quickly than payments by mail or phone. This decreased timeline eliminates initial risky spots for data leaks and ensures high-security compliance, thanks to member and provider matching. By implementing and normalizing data such as proper names and nicknames, social security numbers, medical ID numbers, and other data fields, it eliminates a need for human intervention. The fewer chances data has to escape a secure system, the safer it will be.

Streamline Workflow and Data Endpoints

At Smart Data Solutions, our mission is to streamline workflows. Being a vendor for others and having worked with many vendors, security is a top priority.

Security in healthcare is a vast topic in that it is of the utmost importance within the industry. From patient information to insurance claims data to banking information for claims processing—the amount of sensitive information floating around is astounding.

Therefore, utilizing automation, streamlining, and data security is why vendors look for one-stop-shops like Smart Data Solutions in the first place. They need assistance in managing all of these data endpoints in one secure location and process.

Being HITRUST certified and having strict security guidelines in place before agreeing to work with any vendor, our goal is to keep data safe and secure while speeding up the process and avoiding costly errors down the line. For more information on our security procedures and how we can help your business, fill out our contact form here.

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