From a workflow perspective, it might not make much of a difference to you if everyone in your company shares login credentials for your data storage, sharing, and syncing solution. But a close reading of the HIPAA compliance guidelines reveals that crowding your staff on the same account threatens to undermine your compliance efforts.
In order to comply with HIPAA, it’s essential to be able to uniquely identify users’ activities with sensitive information. Below, we untangle how it all fits together.
- Encryption / decryption protection. Unique user IDs are essential for a robust encryption and decryption system. By encrypting files and granting access based on authenticated credentials, you can ensure only authorized people can see electronic protected health information.
- Protection against accidental sharing Group access permissions aren’t appropriate in every situation, even among staff who have similar job functions.
- Access revocation. HIPAA guidelines stipulate that covered entities and business associates have termination procedures in place. The natural extension of that, then, is technology that allows for real-time revocation of access to terminated individuals. But this ability is made moot if multiple users share login credentials.
- Audit control. This is the big one. As you’re no doubt aware, audit trails are a key component of HIPAA compliance. While it’s critical to know just what’s happening to the sensitive information, such as when it was opened or modified—it’s equally important who’s involved. Unique logins give you just that ability to identify and track user activities.