According to the HIPAA Security Rule, technical safeguards are “the technology and the policy and procedures for its use that protect electronic protected health information and control access to it.” So while administrative safeguards involve people and access and physical safeguards involve the physical premises, technical safeguards look at the technology and platforms used to protect sensitive PHI.
Protected Health Information (PHI), as defined by the Privacy Rule, is “individually identifiable health information held or transmitted by a covered entity or its business associate, in any form or media, whether electronic, paper, or oral.”
The Privacy Rule is a national standard intended to protect patients’ protected health information (PHI). The HIPAA Privacy Rule requires healthcare organizations and their third parties to implement appropriate safeguards to protect the privacy of this information. It regulates things like appropriate use and disclosure of PHI, patient access to PHI, and patient rights.
According to the Security Rule, physical safeguards are, “physical measures, policies, and procedures to protect a covered entity’s electronic information systems and related buildings and equipment, from natural and environmental hazards, and unauthorized intrusion.” Each organization’s physical safeguards may be different, and should be derived based on the results of the HIPAA risk analysis.
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) sets a national standard for the protection of consumers’ PHI by mandating risk management best practices and physical, administrative, and technical safeguards. HIPAA was established to provide greater transparency for individuals whose information may be at risk, and the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office for Civil Rights (OCR) enforces compliance with the HIPAA Privacy, Security, and Breach Notification Rules.