June 1

Is Microsoft 365 HIPAA Compliant?


This article was updated on June 10th, 2020*

I once had a patient who used a fake ID to get healthcare services. The hospital staff called the cops, who arrested the patient. Evidently, the patient was an illegal immigrant, an undocumented alien. The hospital got hammered in the press for reporting this illegal alien who was trying to get healthcare. Actually, steal healthcare by using someone else's ID, but let's not quibble. Such incidents occur when we don’t have or follow the standards for privacy and security of health information. HIPAA: Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 came into existence to prevent fraud.

What is HIPAA Compliance?

If you work in the healthcare industry, then you have heard about HIPAA Compliance thousands of times. The importance of keeping health information confidential and electronically protected is pounded into us daily for good reason.

We all know that it is a Federal Regulation specific to two types of organizations. HIPAA is a two-sided coin — and for patients, both heads and tails are winners.

What are HIPAA privacy rules?

HIPAA Patient Privacy protects the rights of those receiving medical care. As it compels healthcare providers to keep their data confidential.
HIPAA Data Security adds a measure of safety, by requiring those who hold such data to restrict access.

Who Must Abide by HIPAA?

1. Covered Entities

Including Health Plans and Healthcare Providers.

2. Business Associates

An entity that performs activities involving the use of protected health information on behalf of a covered entity.

Today, both Covered Entities and Business Associates must follow the same, exact requirements for HIPAA compliance. This is in big part to the final HIPAA Omnibus Rule back in 2013.

Microsoft HIPAA Business Associate Agreement

To support your digital transformation, you want to meet your compliance requirements your way. At the same time, you have to choose from a wide range of services. So, you want a HIPAA BAA (Business Associate Agreement) that enables flexibility and choice.

Get a HIPAA BAA from Microsoft for Office 365

Communication Square provides you digital flexibility with Microsoft Office 365 and HIPAA Compliance assurance. We can provide you a Business Associate Agreement which would take all the worries off of your shoulder. Start exploring our Healthcare Solution to transform your business with the digital flexibility of Microsoft Office 365 and HIPAA Compliance.

Is Office 365 HIPAA Compliant?

The answer is Yes! Microsoft Office 365 is HIPAA Compliant. Establishing HIPAA compliance across a network can be a time-consuming task and needs proper knowledge.

What is cloud computing and its advantages?

Most Hospitals hire professionals to make their health records compliant according to HIPAA requirements, which is costly. Microsoft Office 365 provides way to achieve HIPAA compliance, with collaborative and cost saving benefits of the cloud.

Are there any cloud providers that are HIPAA compliant?

According to HIPAA Omnibus Rule, all cloud storage providers should be HIPAA compliant as Business Associates. Under the agreement “Business Associates” is an entity or person involved in handling of Protected Health Information (PHI). Microsoft Office 365 provides HIPAA certified cloud storage.

Is Data valuable?

You can securely record all your sensitive data on Microsoft Cloud.

Microsoft Office 365 meets all the requirement of Business Associates agreement for handling health information.

Not only that, Microsoft Office 365 also meets the requirements for HITECH Breach Notification Final Rule. Through Security and Compliance Center, which notifies individuals and the government when a breach of unsecured PHI occurs.

Microsoft Office 365 HIPAA compliant Encryption

Every HIPAA compliance hosting has to ensure they have encryption capabilities to securely store and transmit the data. Microsoft Office 365 offers enterprise-level encryption for its data utilizing Azure Information Protection.

Email Message Encryption - Office 365

This also includes email encryption options through Outlook Online. A user can send an encrypted email (which contains sensitive EPHI) to another user with two access options.

They can either send an encrypted email which the recipient can access by logging via their Microsoft account. Or by using a one-time passcode to view encrypted email if the recipient doesn’t have a Microsoft account.

Data Loss Prevention

Data Loss Prevention is a rule that pre-screens sensitive information. For example, you might want to screen Credit Card number in your emails or any other sensitive information.

What is HIPAA and HIPAA compliant email?

Microsoft Office 365 notifies you if the email contains any sensitive information. Emails delivery can be blocked if they contain any sensitive information like health insurance number or social security etc. Thus Microsoft 365 ensure that health data is only transmitted through secure channels.

What are HIPAA's Records retention Requirements?

Nowadays everything can be accessed through mobile and tablets so does the Electronic Protected Health Information. It is necessary to secure mobile device which contains sensitive health information.

What are security controls?

Microsoft Office 365 has built-in functionality to wipe data and restrict access to all the remote mobile device. So even if someone steals the device of a physician, health specialist or they lose it themselves; Office 365 can easily restrict access to sensitive health information.

What is the best time to promote HIPAA awareness?

The HIPAA Privacy Rule has already evolved over the past few years. Requirements and suggested practices to comply with HIPAA will continue to evolve in the future.

Due to the enforcement activity of the Office of Civil Rights. It is time now for you to take action.

How to become a HIPAA compliant?

Start your journey towards HIPAA compliance with Microsoft Office 365 and Microsoft Azure Cloud.

What are the most secure cloud storage solutions?

 You can trust Communication Square with managed Cloud Solutions to increase the productivity of your teams. You will also be secure and compliant at the same time.

Communication Square provides industry-leading Cloud Healthcare Solutions to meet all your customized needs and get you HIPAA Compliant.

Get started to explore more.

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About the Author

Farwah Aslam: Your routine healthcare physician and a technology enthusiast.

Farwah Aslam

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