The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) came as an approach to simplify healthcare and reduce costs. Since its enactment, the healthcare industry has seen a dynamic shift in the standardization of patient data with strict compliance. Making your practice HIPAA Compliant is extremely important in today’s era.
Medical business owners need to follow and implement HIPAA standards throughout the practice. Failure to comply to HIPAA Guidelines can result in termination. Similarly, hefty fines can also lead to imprisonment (depending upon the seriousness of the violation).
During the last five years, HIPAA fined up to $2.3 million to individual practices for showing negligence while handling data. In an ever-advancing world, HIPAA compliance is becoming significant and practices violate it frequently. According to the 2018 Verizon whitepaper titled, Protected Health Information Data Breach, employees cause nearly 60% of healthcare breaches.
The Healthcare Industry cannot afford to lose any data. Therefore, it requires complete protection and prevention of data loss. Similarly, data breaches or loss of data can result in dire consequences and repercussions. Also, many organizations cannot fully recover once they become victims to a data breach.
To avoid a security breach, medical practices and insurers should regularly schedule data backups of their workstations and servers. So, this is crucial for a HIPAA compliant practice. It will ensure patient data is safe and recoverable at regular intervals.
Installing anti-virus software allows practices to minimize the risks of a data and breach. Hackers search for data breaches for monetary or personal gains. In addition, anti-virus software helps to protect the systems that employees use to access patient information.
Whenever employees transmit sensitive information to another network, there is always a high risk of losing important information. Thus, the best way to overlook this is to secure emails through encryption software. As a result, only the intended recipient will be able to open and view the contents of the email.
By introducing activity controls and logs, health practices and insurance companies able to record ePHI access times of each employee. Furthermore, they can track the activities with the data once it’s accessed and can make a log list afterwards.
To minimize the risks of data breaches, practices need to set clear policies and procedures. These policies should tell about the use of personal mobile devices in the workplace. Moreover, regulating the use of devices and educating employees on the consequences of HIPAA violations can minimize the risks.
For being HIPAA compliant, medical practices and insurance companies need to have a well trained staff. The HIPAA guidelines suggest Implementing Staff Training as a pertinent factor when it comes to HIPAA compliance. Training employee costs time, money, and materials. However, this is a priceless investment in the future of your practice.
A risk assessment is the assessment of the shared network which the employees use every day. Such assessment helps identify the risks in the sensitive data. Similarly, you can minimize the risks by using of risk assessment tools. Once you identify the risks, medical practices can better organize their patient data.
The best way to avoid any sort of security breach is to restrict third-party access while using ePHI. This way, there will be no other party involved in the exchange of sensitive health information. Moreover, HIPPA security rules demand the entities not to disclose any patient information except special scenarios. Also, practices can attain it only if they restrict third party access.
HIPAA is complex and multifaceted. Even bigger healthcare facilities often face challenges of protecting patient information. By implementing right security standards, medical practices can streamline the issues proactively. No healthcare organization would want to expose sensitive patient information, rather they want to protect it with HIPAA.
Being a HIPAA compliant practice plays a substantial role in minimizing healthcare fraud and protecting individual privacy. Maintaining HIPAA compliance allows healthcare workers to preemptively protect patient privacy. Contact Physicians Revenue Group Inc. for making your practice aligned with the latest HIPAA regulations.