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How PCI DSS Strengthens Healthcare Data Security?

Healthcare organizations may protect all types of patient data, from medical information to credit card numbers, by maintaining PCI compliance and HIPAA compliance. HIPAA and the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) both safeguard data in several fields.

Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA)

HIPAA is a set of regulatory standards that grants patients a wide range of rights regarding the privacy of their individually identifiable health information. It applies to entities that create, access, handle, and transmit protected health information (PHI), known as Covered Entities (CE) and Business Associates (BA). The US government is in charge of the HIPAA requirement.

PCI rules aim to safeguard credit card data in the same way that HIPAA protects protected health information (PHI). Healthcare organizations are accountable for both PCI compliance and HIPAA Compliance since they frequently handle both PHI and financial data.

What are PCI Standards?

A group of security requirements known as the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) was established in 2004 by American Express, Visa, MasterCard, Discover Financial Services, and JCB International. The compliance programme, which is overseen by the Payment Card Industry Security Standards Council (PCI SSC), attempts to protect credit and debit card transactions against fraud and data theft.

Through a set of criteria specified by the PCI SSC, PCI certification guarantees the security of card data at your company. These consist of several well-known best practises, including:

  • Mounting of firewalls
  • Transmission of data is encrypted
  • Anti-virus software usage
  • Businesses must also monitor network resource access and prevent access to cardholder data.
A useful asset that assures customers that doing business with your company is safe is PCI-compliant security.

In contrast, the financial and reputational costs of noncompliance ought to be sufficient to persuade any business owner to prioritize data protection.

Quit stressing about data security challenges. Schedule a call with TechVariable's expert team today!

Commonality Between the Healthcare Industry and Credit Card Industries

Considering the sheer number of data breaches that have occurred over the past few years, the healthcare and credit card industries rank as the second and third biggest threats, respectively. The type and quantity of data in EMR/EHR systems, along with cardholder information, is very desirable to cybercriminals.

Given how persistent and creative hackers are in their pursuit of PHI and payment information, it is crucial for both covered entities and business associates to continuously improve their cybersecurity measures. Because of this, data breaches continue to be a significant, expensive factor in both of these industries.

HIPAA vs PCI: Key Differences
  • Compared to PCI DSS, HIPAA has a more open framework with less clear requirements, permitting the provider to figure out and decide on many implementation specifics.
  • While HIPAA addresses a wider variety of issues related to patient safety, the right to privacy, quality improvement, and the eradication of fraud, abuse, and waste, PCI DSS has limited security standards.
  • A health record with even the most basic health insurance information is worth 10–20 times more on the black market than a U.S. credit card number with a 3-digit CVV code.
  • HIPAA compliance is required of all covered companies as well as their business partners.
  • The most serious dangers to ePHI, including theft, loss, and unauthorized access, are addressed through meaningful use, which is covered by the Omnibus Rule of HIPAA under the HITECH Act. Meaningful use is not discussed in the PCI DSS.

The Power of Combining PCI with HIPAA

Today, many businesses must adhere to both HIPAA/HITECH and PCI DSS regulations. Multiple standards efforts can result in additional procedures, paperwork, evaluations, and audits, which could double or triple the time and effort required to achieve complete IT compliance. But it’s not necessary.

It is feasible to benefit from these regulatory overlaps by working with a skilled IT auditor. Your team may eliminate the excess labor by identifying which tasks and evidence are redundant using the framework mapping between PCI and HIPAA. 

When both standards are combined, account data and PHI will be covered by a single evaluation. Additionally, PCI can provide a solid framework and prescriptive guidance for HIPAA requirements, which are sometimes viewed as being ambiguous.

The overall benefits of combined compliance efforts include:

  • Decreasing the time needed to implement, test, assess, and audit common security measures.
  • Decreasing oversight needed for multiple engagements.
  • Increasing efficiency by using the strengths of both frameworks.

Role of PCI DSS in Healthcare

The most recent set of regulations for safeguarding credit card data is the PCI DSS v4.0. by adhering to the PCI DSS v4.0 requirements listed on the PCI DSS website. The healthcare institutions can contribute to the protection of patient financial information security and stop data breaches. For the sake of preserving patient privacy and averting financial damages, this is crucial.

This widely used collection of guidelines is intended to increase the security of transactions made with credit, debit, and cash cards while also safeguarding cardholders from identity theft.

The PCI DSS must be followed by all companies that take credit and debit cards for payment. As a result, patients may transact with confidence using their debit or credit cards, knowing that their data is protected.

If hospitals or other healthcare organizations store, handle, or transfer cardholder data, they must adhere to the PCI DSS. This is so that all organizations that handle cardholder data can maintain a secure environment. PCI DSS is a set of security standards.

According to PCI SSC, the credit card companies (Visa, MasterCard, Discover, and AMEX) have the right to impose fines of $5,000 to $100,000 per month for non-compliance with PCI DSS. What a large sum of money!

These fines could differ dramatically depending on the merchant’s payment volume, past non-compliance, and the severity of the breach experienced by each payment brand. 

Why Integrate PCI with HIPAA?

Both PCI DSS and HIPAA specify the requirements for penalties in the event of a data breach, but it should be emphasized that PCI is governed by the Security Standards Council, which was established by five major payment companies, whilst HIPAA is a U.S. government legislation. 

There are numerous shared controls between these two standards, which are further discussed in this article; organizations aiming to comply with both should take advantage of this. It might seem profitable to kill two birds with one stone from both a cost and control execution standpoint!


Not every auditable need on the HIPAA compliance checklist will be satisfied by using PCI DSS as a framework. However, it’s a sound strategy, and as you move through compliance, you’ll discover that there are lots of parallels, which makes satisfying those requirements much easier.

HIPAA compliance does not automatically follow PCI compliance. The opposite is untrue as well. Despite their overlap, they are still two separate standards and ought to be regarded as such. OCR audit checklists for HIPAA and PCI DSS compliance should be followed in order to meet compliance in the proper manner.

In the end, it’s not just about complying and flashing a certificate; a more varied strategy with a focus on holistic security will pay off in the long run.

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