According to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA), the safeguards are grouped into three categories: administrative, physical, and technical.
The HIPAA Privacy and Security Rule
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issues regulations, known as the Privacy Rule and Security Rule, to specify security controls applicable to those entities covered by HIPAA.
The Privacy Rule, primarily, addresses how PHI (Protected Health Information) can be used and disclosed, while the Security Rule, as a subset of the Privacy Rule, applies specifically to electronic PHI or ePHI.
HIPAA Safeguard Definitions
The Security Rule defines administrative safeguards as, “administrative actions, and policies and procedures, to manage the selection, development, implementation, and maintenance of security measures to protect electronic protected health information and to manage the conduct of the covered entity’s workforce in relation to the protection of that information.”
The Security Rule defines technical safeguards as “the technology and the policy and procedures for its use that protect electronic protected health information and control access to it.”
The Security Rule defines physical safeguards as “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.”