Business Associate: Definition and Examples

Business associates help you conduct business activities. Read on to learn more about business associates and what they can do for you.

What Is a Business Associate?

A business associate is an entity, such as an organization, or a person providing services on behalf of a covered entity.

In the healthcare field, business associates can perform activities and functions using or disclosing Protected Health Information (PHI).

The functions and activities of a business associate are:

  • Quality assurance
  • Claims processing or administration
  • Billing
  • Practice management and repricing
  • Benefit management
  • Utilization review
  • Data analysis

Some services that a business associate provide are:

  • Administrative services
  • Financial services
  • Management services
  • Legal services
  • Accounting services
  • Data aggregation services
  • Accreditation services
  • Consulting services

Examples of Business Associates

  • IT consultant
  • Answering service
  • Collections agency
  • E-prescribing services
  • Medical device maker
  • Billing or coding company
  • Law office
  • Medical transcriptionist
  • Practice management services
  • Remote backup services of patient’s information by a subcontractor

Note: A member of the covered entity’s workforce is not a business associate. Furthermore, anyone who encounters patients’ information by chance is not a business associate.

Who Can Be a Business Associate?

Here is the list of businesses that are considered business associates while working with covered entities.

  • Third-party administrators
  • Accreditation companies
  • Answering services
  • Pharmacy benefit managers
  • Medical transcription companies
  • Data processing firms
  • Patient safety organizations

What Are Covered Entities?

Covered entities directly work with patients. Business associates do not see patients, but they maintain access to Protected Health Information.

Learn More About HIPAA Compliance

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