6 Steps for Ensuring HIPAA Compliance

In 1996, President Bill Clinton signed The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) into law. It is a law that includes security protections and data protection to keep the medical records of patients safe. There are 6 Steps for Ensuring HIPAA Compliance in this article.

This includes covered entities (CE), someone who offers healthcare services, payment and operations, and business associates (BA), anyone with access to patient information and provides assistance in treatment, payment, or operations. It is often important to comply with subcontractors or business associates of business associates.

Along with the health insurance portability, the legislation also established rules to safeguard the privacy of patients. This patient data is commonly referred to as PHI (Protected Health Information) or ePHI (Electronic Protected Health Information).

Steps for Ensuring HIPAA Compliance

To better understand how to ensure compliance and minimize the risk of violation, follow these measures:

1.      Develop a Cohesive Privacy Policy

Adopt and enforce a robust safety policy. Ensure that all workers undergo proper training in these policies and conduct regular quality assurance tests to ensure that they are implemented. This training should also be necessary for all third-party suppliers.

2.      Privacy and security Officer appointment

Healthcare organizations must name security and privacy officer. This may be either the same person or different people. This individual should be familiar with all HIPAA regulations and policies.

3.      Stipulate specific policies for email

Email is not the mode of communication that is most secure. HIPAA accepts this with respect to patient data and incorporates this in the regulations. Take measures to ensure that organizational email is encrypted with recorded evidence in order to stay compliant with HIPAA.

4.      Conducting routine risk assessments

In this technological era, health safety and security are at everyday risk. Healthcare organizations should routinely perform risk assessments in order to determine vulnerabilities. This will guarantee that health information is safe and that future issues are avoided.

5.      Training Employees

HIPAA Compliance training should be continuous and active. You need to train your staff on the HIPAA Rule annually and communicate information that you have worked so hard to build regarding your privacy and security policies and procedures. When no one knows about it, or how to use it, what good is all the work you have done on a Compliance Plan? Train workers on the HIPAA Act as well as on your particular strategy. Furthermore, you must keep records that they have been taught.

6.      Build a Specific Mobile Policy

Mobile devices are everywhere, and each and every year they become more omnipresent. Mobile devices are used on every side of the health care world, between providers and patients, to check email and log into accounts. As such, establishing a clear policy to safeguard health data on mobile devices such as smartphones and laptops, which are especially vulnerable to physical theft, would greatly benefit you. The policy should also discuss what happens when connecting or removing a new device from the network.

Benefits of HIPAA Compliance

  • HIPAA helps to ensure that strict security measures are applied to all information disclosed to healthcare providers and health plans, or information produced, distributed, or processed by them. Patients are often granted discretion over whom their data is issued to and with whom it is shared.
  • For patients who want to take a more active role in their healthcare and want to get copies of their health records, HIPAA is important. Even with great care, when recording health records, healthcare organizations may make errors. They will search for errors if patients are able to access copies and ensure that errors are corrected.
  • Being HIPAA-compliant means that appropriate safeguards to secure patient data are in effect for a healthcare provider. Compliance makes it easier for patients to trust you, and they are likely to select you as their go-to healthcare provider because trust is the foundation of any business enterprise.

There has been an unprecedented increase in the number of data breaches targeting the healthcare sector in recent years. There is likely to be substantial reputational damage if you suffer a violation. After showing that you have a strong data protection infrastructure in place and that you properly protect patient data, you can only achieve HIPAA compliance status. If, in certain conditions, a violation happens, it is likely to be less injurious.

Implementing a robust risk management plan for patient data protection that ensures compliance with HIPAA helps the company to protect your critical systems and data proactively against current risks. At the same time, your company will also be able to easily respond to emerging business threats with an intelligent data protection strategy. As new technologies are being applied at an apparently blinding pace, it can be challenging not only to defend against today’s threats but also tomorrow’s ones. The implementation of a robust data security strategy is the first step in defending against cyberattacks in the future. This lays the foundation for protecting your infrastructure from potential threats by thinking about data protection for everyone in your company, while also ensuring that you have aggressive threat measures and strict access controls in place. This will allow you the opportunity to rapidly implement new tactics to protect against the threats of tomorrow, instead of being caught off guard by ever-changing, active, persistent threats.

One of the key advantages of HIPAA for protected organizations is the improved cybersecurity posture that comes with compliance.

  • It provides patients with a valuable tool they can use to access their medical history to see if there is an error in their records (if they want to change the service provider). If they are unable to do so (due to accident, sickness, or any other cause patients may nominate any number of individuals who are able to see their file.
  • HIPAA offers a mechanism for healthcare entities that safeguard who has access to and who can display specific health data while limiting with whom that information can be exchanged. In order to be compliant, every PHI entity must also have physical, network, and process security measures in place.

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