HIPAA Compliance and Security: Eight Things to Consider
The potential for massive fines for non-compliance with HIPAA's requirements ranges from nothing to $250,000, so complying with the law might be intimidating.
It is recommended that healthcare organizations appoint or get HIPAA training online to monitor compliance with security measures and ensure that sensitive patient data is handled appropriately (PHI).
Despite this, it is essential for those working in the medical field to have a rudimentary understanding of the HIPAA Security Rule's requirements for staff compliance standards.
HIPAA: A Brief History
There has been a set of national guidelines for protecting specific health information since 2002 when the Standards for Privacy of Individually Identifiable Health Information ("Privacy Rule") was enacted. The Privacy Rule addressed the issue of healthcare practitioners and organizations using or disclosing the health information of persons without the individual's consent.
The most challenging obstacle that HIPAA throws in your path is to accurately and consistently preserve the privacy of individuals without bringing your company to its knees. In light of this, the most valuable technologies now accessible would be those that let users communicate only the information relevant to a given situation.
Compliance is attainable for every practice, even though it might be difficult, provided the following protocols are in place for your employees.
Patients are required by law to sign an acknowledgment that they have received and read the HIPAA information your business provides in order to protect their privacy. Most of the time, patients only give this material a cursory glance or whiz right past the HIPAA warning signs posted without giving them a second thought.
However, this does not imply that HIPAA training online is unimportant in any way.
If for any reason, a patient's medical information were to become compromised as a result of your practice, the affected patient would likely become extremely upset and seek any and all available legal remedies. Because of this, it is necessary to make every effort to prevent any kind of HIPAA breach. Take note of the following guidelines to ensure the privacy of your patients:
1. Be familiar with the meaning of protected health information.
Some medical practitioners believe that the only way to protect the privacy of their patients is to conceal fundamental information such as their names and Social Security numbers.
It pertains to any information that is specific to a patient and can be characterized as either personal or distinctive. This could include patient phone numbers, emails, addresses, etc. In accordance with HIPAA regulations, contact information is considered on par with medical information and should be guarded and secured.
2. Establish a contract with each of your company partners.
This is a straightforward agreement that requires any outside business (such as an outside billing company, for example) to maintain the confidentiality of all patient information.
3. Be careful with your passwords.
In order to make the most of the software and computer systems that are standard in a workplace, it is necessary to exchange a few passwords. Your general rule of thumb is that the fewer persons who have access to personal patient information, the better it is for the organization's overall level of security.
Because of this, there is a far lower chance that anything will leak out of practice, intentionally or accidentally.
4. Evaluate your use of the email
It is essential to do an analysis of the manner in which you communicate with patients. Generally speaking, medical practices will email patients with specific information that should not be viewed by anyone else or received. Make sure that these emails are encoded at all times in order to prevent a violation of HIPAA.
In addition, some regulations govern the many kinds of electronic devices (such as computers, cellphones, tablets, and so on) that transmit information. It is not uncommon for staff members or doctors to use their personal devices to convey patient information, which is potentially a very serious breach of HIPAA.
5. Obtain a cyber insurance policy.
Some medical practices are reluctant to pay the costs associated with this form of security; nonetheless, cyber insurance is something you simply cannot do without.
As a result of the fact that we now live in a world where hacking, ransomware, and other forms of cyber-attacks are commonplace, businesses have a greater responsibility than ever before to exercise extreme caution.
The expenses associated with a cyber attack and a violation resulting from it will be significantly more expensive than your insurance investment. Be sure to select the appropriate level of cyber insurance for your practice in conjunction with your insurance provider. This will ensure that your business is adequately protected.
6. Make sure your paper is safe.
Today, most practices still use paper to record and process information. Because of this, medical procedures need to put a lot of thought into how they keep patient files organized and how they will get rid of old data when the time comes.
Obtain a high-quality paper shredder for your office. If you choose a service to dispose of paper, you should ensure that the company is reliable and has a good name in the industry.
7. Participate in the yearly training.
You will significantly improve the level of protection afforded to you with regard to day-to-day operations if you provide HIPAA training to your staff on an annual basis. Moreover, if a problem arises, you will be in a strong position to argue that your clinic did everything in its power to educate the staff and safeguard patient information.
8. Ensure patients sign a privacy notice.
In the event that there is a problem, the fact that your practice does not possess a signed notice of privacy practice form will be interpreted as an indicator that it does not have appropriate protocols and policies in place.
HIPAA is an extremely stringent regulatory process, and all dental clinics are obligated to adhere to it in the strictest manner possible. When this information is examined on a consistent basis, the HIPAAtraining online guidelines can be easily understood because they are explicit. Your practice can assist assure continued compliance with the most recent regulations by receiving annual updates as part of its commitment to continuing education.