HubSpot: A HIPAA Compliant CRM Software

8 minutes read
Manveen Kaur - 07.06.2024
HubSpot: A HIPAA Compliant CRM Software

HubSpot made a groundbreaking announcement this week!

HubSpot's Enterprise clients can now securely store personal, protected health information (PHI) within HubSpot and manage their portal in accordance with HIPAA regulations.

Before we get to that, here’s some information on what HIPAA is and why is it important.


Understanding HIPAA Compliance

What is HIPAA Compliance?

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) was introduced in 1996 to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the healthcare system. The main purpose of HIPAA is to protect sensitive patient information from being disclosed without the patient's consent or knowledge. This federal law applies to any organisation that handles Protected Health Information (PHI).


Key Components of HIPAA Regulations

HIPAA is composed of several rules that set the standards for protecting PHI. Here are the key components:

  1. Privacy Rule:
    The Privacy Rule creates rules to protect people's medical records and personal health info. It affects health plans, healthcare clearinghouses, and healthcare providers that do certain electronic transactions. Organisations need to put in place measures to keep this info safe and sound, while patients get to have a say in their health information, like getting copies of their records and asking for any corrections.

  2. Security Rule:
    The Security Rule sets out rules to keep electronic Protected Health Information (ePHI) safe. This covers ePHI that's made, received, used, or kept by covered entities, similar to what the Privacy Rule does, but focuses on protecting electronic information. Organisations need to put in place admin, physical, and tech protections to secure ePHI. This includes setting up access controls, encrypting data, and doing regular security checks.

  3. Breach Notification Rule:
    The Breach Notification Rule says that if there's a leak of unsecured Protected Health Information (PHI), the groups involved have to inform the people affected, the Health Secretary, and sometimes even the media. Both the main organisations and their partners have to follow certain steps and timing for these alerts, making sure everyone's quickly in the loop if data gets spilled.


Importance of HIPAA Compliance

HIPAA compliance is crucial for several reasons:

  1. Protection of Patient Privacy: Ensuring compliance with HIPAA helps safeguard patients' sensitive health information from unauthorised access and breaches. This builds trust between patients and healthcare providers, fostering a more secure and confidential environment.

  2. Legal Obligations: Non-compliance with HIPAA can result in significant legal consequences, including hefty fines and penalties. These can range from $100 to $50,000 per violation, with an annual maximum of $1.5 million for repeated violations.

  3. Reputation Management: A data breach can severely damage the reputation of a healthcare organisation. By adhering to HIPAA regulations, organisations demonstrate their commitment to protecting patient information, which can enhance their credibility and reputation.

  4. Operational Efficiency: Implementing HIPAA's required safeguards often leads to improved data management practices. This can increase operational efficiency and reduce the risk of data breaches, ultimately leading to better patient care and service delivery.

  5. Patient Trust and Engagement: When patients know that their information is protected under stringent regulations, they are more likely to engage fully with their healthcare providers. This can lead to better patient outcomes and satisfaction.


Why Do You Need a HIPAA compliant CRM Software?

While HIPAA compliance is often associated with healthcare, it is also critical for other industries such as finance, insurance, and any sector handling sensitive information. A HIPAA-compliant CRM addresses several key concerns that organisations across these industries face:

1. Complex Compliance Processes

One of the biggest challenges for organisations is going through complicated compliance processes, whether it be HIPAA, GDPR, or other data protection laws. A HIPAA-compliant CRM simplifies this process by integrating necessary security features and protocols directly into the system. This reduces the burden on organisations to manually implement and monitor compliance measures, allowing them to focus more on their core operations.


2. Bridging Disconnected Teams

Organisations often operate with multiple departments and teams, leading to communication gaps and data silos. CRM compliance ensures better collaboration by providing a centralised platform where all team members can securely access and share sensitive information. This ensures that everyone is on the same page and can work together more effectively.


3. Enhancing Customer Experience

Disjointed customer experiences can erode trust and satisfaction. A HIPAA-compliant CRM ensures that interactions are consistent, personalised, and secure. By having a holistic view of customer history and preferences, organisations can deliver a seamless and tailored experience.


4. Seizing Growth Opportunities

Organisations that fail to leverage CRM systems may miss out on significant growth opportunities. CRM compliance not only helps in maintaining regulatory compliance but also provides insights and analytics to drive strategic decisions. This can lead to improved service offerings, customer retention, and overall growth.


Growth drivers include:

  • Data-driven insights for better decision making
  • Identification of trends and customer needs
  • Enhanced marketing and outreach efforts


5. Reducing Risk of Data Breaches

Data breaches can have severe consequences, including financial penalties and loss of trust. A HIPAA-compliant CRM minimises this risk by incorporating robust security measures designed to protect sensitive information.


6. Streamlining Operations

A HIPAA-compliant CRM streamlines various administrative tasks, reducing the workload on staff and improving operational efficiency. By automating routine processes and ensuring secure data handling, organisations can devote more time to value-added activities.

Efficiency enhancements include:

  • Workflow automation
  • Centralised data management
  • Integration with other systems



Is HubSpot HIPAA Compliant?

With businesses across various industries increasingly relying on Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems to manage sensitive information, the need for these systems to comply with regulatory standards like HIPAA has been long due. HubSpot has taken significant initiatives in ensuring that its platform meets the stringent requirements of HIPAA, making it a viable option for organisations that handle protected health information (PHI).


Turning On HIPAA-Protected Sensitive Data

HubSpot now provides dedicated settings to support the storage and management of HIPAA-protected data. To enable these features, users must turn on the sensitive data settings within their HubSpot account:

  1. Navigating Settings: From the HubSpot account, click on the settings icon in the top navigation bar.
  2. Privacy & Consent: In the left sidebar menu, navigate to Privacy & Consent and then click on Configure sensitive data settings.
  3. Selecting HIPAA Categories: In the right panel, select the checkboxes to specify the categories of sensitive data, including Health/Medical Data. Additionally, confirm that you are a HIPAA-covered entity or business associate.
  4. Acceptance of Terms: Read and accept the Sensitive Data Beta Terms and the Business Associate Agreement (BAA).
  5. Creation of Properties: After enabling sensitive data settings, create properties specifically marked for storing PHI. These properties provide an additional layer of security and can only be modified by Super admins.

Storing HIPAA-Protected Data

Once the HIPAA-sensitive data settings are enabled, you can create custom properties to store and manage PHI securely:

  1. Creating Properties: Navigate to Properties in the settings menu and click 'Create property'.
  2. Designating as Sensitive: During property creation, mark the property as sensitive and specify that it will store PHI. Choose access permissions carefully, either allowing everyone or restricting to Super Admins only.
  3. Secure Attachments: Upload attachments with an additional layer of encryption, ensuring that files containing PHI are protected in HubSpot’s database.

Benefits of HubSpot’s HIPAA Compliance

HubSpot’s commitment to HIPAA compliance offers several benefits to organisations that handle sensitive data:

  1. Enhanced Security: HubSpot’s robust security measures, including data encryption and role-based access control, ensure that PHI is protected from unauthorised access and breaches.

  2. Comprehensive Compliance: By turning on HIPAA-sensitive data settings and accepting the BAA, organisations can confidently use HubSpot while meeting their regulatory obligations.

  3. Streamlined Operations: With all sensitive data centralised in one secure platform, teams can collaborate more effectively and streamline their operations without compromising on security.

  4. Better Data Management: Custom properties designed for PHI help in organising and managing sensitive data efficiently, ensuring that critical information is always available to authorised personnel.

Note: storing HIPAA data is available under public beta for enterprise users of HubSpot, learn more on this knowledge base article on HubSpot.

HubSpot’s introduction of HIPAA-sensitive data tools marks a significant advancement for industries that require stringent data protection measures. By enabling the specific settings for HIPAA compliance, creating secure properties, and leveraging HubSpot’s comprehensive security features, organisations can manage their sensitive information with confidence. This development not only ensures regulatory compliance but also enhances the overall security and efficiency of business operations.


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