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Five Factors for HIPAA Security in eCommerce 2023

Updated  |  4 min read

HIPAA Compliance for eCommerce Sites

Hipaa compliance icon.What does HIPAA compliance mean? HIPAA stands for Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. It contains the rules and regulations you must follow if you deal with protected health information (PHI) or electronic PHI (ePHI)—which includes covered entities like health care providers and insurance companies.

If your eCommerce platform handles ePHI, which includes electronic medical records (EMR) and electronic health records (EHR), it needs to follow HIPAA security best practices. This means making your eCommerce platform secure to prevent unauthorized users from accessing your customers' sensitive information. You also need to have HIPAA-compliant web hosting for your website. Failure to do these things can result in fines from the government and the loss of loyalty from your customers.

Below are five important factors to consider for a HIPAA-compliant eCommerce platform.


Five Considerations for HIPAA eCommerce Security

If you handle protected health information on your site or store PHI on your servers or in your database, etc., there's an extensive list of HIPAA rules that need to be followed.

The first thing you should know is that there is no governing body that certifies a website to be HIPAA compliant. While there's no such thing as "HIPAA certified," there are several HIPAA best practices to follow that are set in place by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office for Civil Rights (OCR).

Our best piece of advice is to talk to a developer like Clarity that has designed, built, and delivered dozens of HIPAA-compliant web forms, HIPAA eCommerce stores, patient–doctor portals, HIPAA-compliant mobile apps, online pharmacies, and more. Feel free to ask us anything, and we'll get you up to speed.

If the answer to "do I have to be HIPAA compliant?" is yes, then take a look at this short list of HIPAA security best practices to get you started.

1. Data Encryption: Protect Data at Rest and in Transit

Hipaa compliant server.HIPAA standards dictate that you must have health data encrypted at all times, whether it's being transmitted, archived, or stored. This ensures that protected health information (PHI) remains secure and confidential. For the best security, you should also encrypt the data within your HIPAA-compliant database, especially when dealing with EHR.

Work with HIPAA Experts

Maintaining HIPAA website requirements can be intimidating, which is why it's a good idea to work with a developer who has experience. Clarity is ready to show you what we can do.

Hipaa icon.

2. HIPAA SSL Certificate: Protect Data in Transit

Site security.

A Secure Socket Layer (SSL) is another essential component for HIPAA compliance. HIPAA SSL requirements mean that you need to purchase a certificate. SSL adds a layer of protection that allows you to transmit private information and data securely to and from your site or ERP portal (i.e., data in transit). Your eCommerce portal should pass all of its transmission over SSL to ensure that a customer's confidential information remains private and safe.

SSL certificates are renewed each year and run from around $40 to $300 a year. The cheaper certificates don't provide any domain validation and thus don't convey trust to the people using your medical or pharmacy eCommerce site. For HIPAA SSL, spend a few extra bucks and get a domain certificate or EV certificate. That doesn't mean you can't still get a good deal, and it's highly worth it in the end.

Clarity HIPAA Projects
Hipaa compliant portals for desktop and mobile.

3. Data Access Logs: Deter and Trace Data Tampering

Microscope representing examining data.When someone accesses health or medical records, that access needs to be recorded according to HIPAA logging requirements.

Many programs (including firewalls) can automatically log who accessed the data when they accessed it, and whether they made changes to the data. This helps trace how many people have seen the information and who may have altered it.

If there is a data breach, access logs can help determine who breached it and when it happened. Log data is commonly requested by courts in cases of insurance fraud. There may be additional policies for HIPAA eCommerce companies that track the sale of narcotics and controlled substances, so be sure to add the extra protection up front. The unique PHI edits must record who made the edits when they made them, and what the old and new values of the data show. This must all be stored in a separate log that is also encrypted.

4. Data Tokenization: Minimize Availability of Secure Data

Data tokenization icon.Data tokenization helps you protect customers' sensitive information. It does this by replacing the sensitive information with unique symbols or numbers that are unrelated to the original information and that have no intrinsic value. This enables you to securely store data and makes it difficult for hackers to decode. Tokenization is one of the primary ways to comply with HIPAA security best practices. It minimizes the availability of secure data on your site and servers.

5. Authentication & IP Blocking: HIPAA Compliant Web Hosting

Web hosting icon.

You can use an authentication process to help keep your HIPAA-compliant website data secure and follow HIPAA rules and security best practices. By requiring authentication credentials that only the server that hosts the site has, no one else will be able to access it. You can also use IP blocking, enabling you to block any IP addresses that you don't want accessing your site or systems.

The hosting environment you choose must facilitate each factor discussed so far. HIPAA-compliant website hosting is much more affordable now than it used to be. Microsoft Azure HIPAA compliance is a leading provides different offers depending on what you need. There are several other hosting providers as well, including Google, Amazon, Bluehost, and many more. Clarity Ventures can help you find the best web hosting for your eCommerce platform or e-pharmacy, and we can integrate your business systems seamlessly.

Make Your Website HIPAA Secure

Our team at Clarity has been developing HIPAA-compliant apps, portals, websites, and eCommerce HIPAA-compliant portal integration for over 15 years. Our experts understand the ins and outs of HIPAA security and what it takes to keep your customers' data safe. We can help you with HIPAA-compliant website hosting, developing your site to HIPAA standards, integrating your business applications, and making sure everything is in order for your HIPAA-compliant eCommerce platform.

We also offer a free, no-obligation discovery session with our experts, so you can find what solution will work best for your business. There's nothing to lose, and everything to gain. So why not click the button below to give it a try?



Shopify offers a popular hosting solution for HIPAA compliance. On the plus side, Shopify HIPAA-compliant hosting includes one-click checkout options, an easy setup, and powerful analytics tools. On the minus side, it has expensive monthly fees, limited storage and bandwidth, and limited customizability.


Microsoft Azure has a set of cloud-based services that are compliant with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). This includes Azure Virtual Machines, Azure Storage, and Azure SQL Database. Pros of Microsoft Azure HIPAA compliance include scalability, reliability, security, integrations, and cost-effectiveness of their pay-as-you-go model. Cons of HIPAA-compliant Azure options include a complex set-up, limited control over hardware and networking, and cost for those with high resource requirements.


What are business associates agreements? A business associate agreement (BAA) is a legal contract between a covered entity, like a healthcare provider or health insurance company, and a business associate, like a third-party service provider that handles PHI on their behalf. (Learn more about the definition of a business associate here.) The business associate agreement outlines the responsibilities of both parties in protecting PHI, including the security measures they'll need to take and what they should do in the event of a data breach. The BAA helps ensure that business associates will comply with HIPAA regulations and makes clear what needs to be done to remain in compliance. If you fail to obtain a BAA from a business associate handling PHI on your behalf, you can receive fines and penalties, and your company's reputation will be damaged as well.


If your online store deals with medical or health information as a covered entity or business associate, you'll need to comply with HIPAA rules and regulations. Protected health information counts as any individually identifiable health information that is created, received, maintained, or transmitted in any form or medium by a covered entity. If your online store does not handle PHI, then you don't need to comply with HIPAA.

However, it's still important to implement security measures to protect sensitive information that you might collect from your customers. You'll need HIPAA-compliant cloud storage to protect information at rest.

If you aren't completely sure about whether you need to comply with HIPAA rules, it's best to seek out the advice of a legal counsel or HIPAA expert.


Covered entities are defined by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) as any person or organization involved in healthcare that handles protected health information (PHI). Covered entities include healthcare providers (i.e., hospitals, clinics, and laboratories), health plans (i.e., health insurance companies and government programs), and healthcare clearinghouses (i.e., entities that process non-standard health information into a standard format and ensure data is accurately transmitted between entities). Covered entities have an obligation to follow HIPAA regulations and protect the PHI they handle, which includes obtaining business associate agreements (BAAs) from any third-party service providers they work with.

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Autumn Spriggle is a Content Writer at Clarity Ventures who stays up to date on the latest trends in eCommerce, software development, and related topics to provide readers with the latest and greatest. She strives to help people like you realize the full potential for their business.

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