Even the most influential organisations may have problems with HIPAA compliance because it is a complex, time-consuming process. Many organisations are still searching for answers to how to become HIPAA compliant. The purpose of this article will be to discuss five tips that can help you become HIPAA compliant as soon as possible.
HIPAA compliance is a requirement for who? Generally speaking, there are two types of organisations that should be established.
Compliant with HIPAA
This cover entities as well as business associates. Healthcare providers, insurance companies, and healthcare clearinghouses are covered entities. Meanwhile, organizations that work with covered entities and have access to PHI during this process are considered business associates. Many business associates must be HIPAA compliant and are IT service providers, billing companies, and shredding services.
Rules governing HIPAA
To ensure the HIPAA compliance guide, healthcare organisations must comply with numerous rules and regulations. The following are some of the most distinguished rules:
- Under HIPAA Privacy Rule, covered entities must comply with privacy standards regarding the use and disclosure of their protected health information.
- The HIPAA Security Rule sets standards for ensuring the security and integrity of PHI and ePHI, the electronic version of PHI. Business associates and covered entities should comply with the Security Rule, especially if they share sensitive patient information.
- Omnibus Rule: This requires business associates to comply with HIPAA. Until now, covered entities were the only ones who had to comply.
- Additionally, it established the standards for Business Associate Agreements (BAAs), which are mandatory for organizations that have to share protected health information (PHI).
- HIPAA Breach Notification Rule: Establishes the policies covered entities and business associates must follow in the event of a data breach. For example, if the event affected fewer than 500 patients, the affected organization must notify HHS within two months at the end of the calendar year that the event occurred. An organization that detects a breach that affects over 500 individuals must notify HHS within 60 days.
Quite a bit of information was covered. The HIPAA rules are like that. For PHI to be protected, several rules and regulations must be followed.
HIPAA compliance tips that can help
You can manage your HIPAA compliance in the following ways:
- Conduct a self-audit. To comply with HIPAA, organisations must conduct annual audits to determine if any administrative, physical, or technical issues could compromise compliance. Indeed, such assessments are not enough to ensure compliance with HIPAA; nevertheless, they can assist you in identifying areas needing attention.
- Once you have recognised any weaknesses, you can take measures to address the problems to ensure that you comply with the HIPAA compliance requirements.
- Provide your employees’ with training on HIPAA regulations so they can understand them properly. It is an absolute requirement. The purpose of such training will be to demonstrate how important it is to adhere to HIPAA regulations. Since your employees are at the front lines, they are the ones who need to understand HIPAA laws more than anyone else.
- Ensure all your HIPAA documents are stored in one location since organizations can often not quickly locate documents during HIPAA audits.
- Using HIPAA-compliant solutions that simplify compliance is necessary, where the HIPAA Ready online compliance system can help. In essence, it is a HIPAA compliance software that helps streamline HIPAA compliance in the workplace. You can report incidents, keep track of tasks, schedule training, and store policies and procedures that are necessary documents for your organization so that employees can consult them when necessary – all in one place.
The HIPAA Privacy Rule states that training should be provided to new employees in a reasonable time after their hire and to employees whose functions are affected by changes to policies or procedures. It specifies that training must be provided after a material change has become effective. The Privacy Rule requires training when an employee is hired or whenever policy or procedure changes.
All employees have typically trained on HIPAA annually, which is, in my opinion, the best practice. Memory fades quickly. When policies are changed, employees forget about them. All it takes is one interval to cause an incident, which is why people must be continually prompted about what they need to do.
Although annual training offers tremendous risk reduction, it may be challenging to sell to upper management in some organizations. The training should at least be abridged every year for employees. Otherwise, it will become outdated.
HIPAA Security Rule mandates that all workforce members be trained on security awareness and receive periodic security updates.
The Security Rule does not define what ‘periodic’ training means or when and how often it must occur. It also doesn’t specify what periodic security updates should include.
HIPAA security training, as well as the Privacy Rule, should be conducted annually. There is no need for HIPAA security training to focus directly on HIPAA, as HIPAA security training does not cover the HIPAA Security Rule, which details what administrative, physical, and technical safeguards are required. In this training, people will learn how to perform their role in protecting PHI by becoming more aware of security issues.
Human error is the most substantial security risk, so security awareness training is essential. Because the risks and costs are significant, I recommend organizations train frequently.
Training ‘bursts’ that focus on a specific topic can serve as periodic security updates rather than comprehensive training. Any form of communication can be used – a module, a video, an email newsletter, a flyer or poster, or anything that communicates a message. Short, memorable messages dispersed throughout the year can be highly effective.
John Wayne did his degree in psychology at the University of Hertfordshire. He is interested in mental health, wellness, and lifestyle.
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