Compliance is a term that gets thrown around a lot, but what does it really mean?
As a business owner, you need to know and understand the rules and regulations of running a business in your particular industry. Compliance refers to all of the federal, state, and local rules and regulations required to keep your business in good standing.
Many industries have specific laws related to information security. In the healthcare industry, HIPAA (the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) sets the standard for protecting sensitive patient data. Any business that deals with personal health information must ensure that all the required security measures are in place and followed to protect their patient’s records.
“The HIPAA Privacy Rule addresses the saving, accessing and sharing of medical and personal information of any individual, while the HIPAA Security Rule more specifically outlines national security standards to protect health data created, received, maintained or transmitted electronically, also known as electronic protected health information (ePHI).” www.onlinetech.com
There are 3 simple steps any healthcare business can follow to remain in good standing with HIPAA:
Risk Analysis: Your company needs to identify and prioritize your risks. The healthcare industry is a prime target for data breaches. Identifying areas within your business that might be lacking security and/or putting sensitive information at risk of a breach is the first step towards business compliance. There are many online tools that provide a free risk assessment. One popular tool can be found here.
Develop an action plan: Create an action plan that describes exactly what you’re doing, when you’re doing it and who’s responsible for getting it done. Use the HIPAA risk assessment to help pinpoint the areas your business might be lacking in security measures. Document the policies and procedures will be implementing within your business to protect sensitive patient information. Failure to document your plans may subject your organization to heavy fines.
Security training: The final step is implementing your action plans through security training. According to HIPAA, “Workforce members are required to have “awareness and understanding” of the safeguards and to follow the policies and procedures, and the covered entity must document that such training has occurred.”
Implementing the 3 steps above will provide your business with the security measures needed to remain compliant within the healthcare industry. Revisiting these steps on an annual basis and making any necessary adjusts is always a good idea. Rules and regulations often change or get updated, so it’s extremely important to stay up-to-date with your policies and procedures.
The Bottom Line: HIPAA COMPLIANCE IN 3 SIMPLE STEPS