Healthcare professionals already have a lot on their plates. They work to stop the spread of diseases, provide preventive medication and treatment to patients, and educate people on how to live healthy and happy lives.
On top of that, they also have to make sure that they’re following the guidelines set in the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). This federal law set the standards for protecting the patient’s sensitive health information.
The HIPAA is a massive piece of legislation. Its Privacy Rule is complex and covers various individuals. The technology used to implement the HIPAA and ensures it runs smoothly is always changing.
Undergoing HIPAA training for business associates is the only way to ensure you’re on top of things. The following information will also help you in becoming HIPAA compliant:
What Does It Mean to Be HIPAA Compliant?
To be HIPAA compliant means the company adheres to the standards set for safeguarding the patient’s digital medical and health data. The HIPAA Act has several goals:
· Protect the privacy of patients
· Improve healthcare
· Enhance portability of health insurance
· Require entities to give the patient’s medical records on request
· Make sure patients know of any data breaches
Why Is It Important to be HIPAA Compliant?
Hacking has always been a big problem. It has gotten worse now that every business and institution has gone digital.
A person’s privacy and personal details are sacred. This is doubly true for patient information. Hackers are always trying to get access to a patient’s electronic Protected Health Information (ePHI). There are several reasons malicious individuals do this. Blackmail, identity theft, and financial gain are just some of the reasons.
The HIPAA was developed to push healthcare organizations to focus on improving data protection and security. New software and technology were also developed to meet the threat of hackers. Requiring healthcare workers and companies to follow HIPAA guidelines was essential for safety.
There are other critical reasons to be HIPAA compliant. One, the HIPAA Act is easy to violate. This is due to the sheer size and complexity of this legislation.
While hacking is the number one cause of security breaches, carelessness and lack of understanding can also lead to mistakes. For example, throwing away documents in the trash instead of shredding them can cause a breach. So does sending an email to the wrong person or talking about PHI in a public setting (ex. elevator, office cooler).
HIPAA compliance mistakes are costly. The fine for a single violation can cost anywhere from $100 to $50,000. The maximum penalty for certain violations can reach $1.5 million annually. There’s even the possibility of jail time if the PHI was deliberately stolen and misused.
These mistakes can be avoided through regular training. It’s why HIPAA training for business associates is mandated among healthcare service providers and professionals.
Who’s Required to Follow HIPAA Guidelines?
There are two groups required to comply with HIPAA regulations – covered entities and business associates. These groups are tasked with the management of patient healthcare data.
A covered entity refers to an organization or individual that processes Protected Health Information (PHI). Doctors, clinics, pharmacies, and health insurance providers are examples of covered entities. However, there are exceptions to this. Organizations that don’t facilitate any healthcare services and don’t relay any patient information aren’t covered by HIPAA rules.
A business associate refers to a group that delivers services to covered entities. They help this sector with specific healthcare functions and activities. Covered entities can share PHI with business associates about helping them with certain healthcare functions. But they cannot share PHI for independent use.
Why is the HIPAA Training Program Necessary?
A HIPAA compliance training program allows healthcare professionals to keep up to date with the changes made to the HIPAA Act.
Every individual who works with healthcare information needs the training to do their job effectively. It also reduces costly human error. Regular training will also lower the odds of your company incurring penalties due to violations. It also saves the company and the individuals time and money. Some training programs can be done online and at the worker’s pace.
Information is Key
The HIPAA Act is critical for a safe and efficient healthcare system. But for it to be the well-oiled machine that it is, all parties must understand what this vital piece of legislation is all about. They must also learn to comply with the established guidelines.
It’s why regular HIPAA training for business associates is necessary. Doing this will protect your patients, your employees, and your company.