Over the last decade, a huge number of individuals have been impacted by unprotected protected health information. Unfortunately, these violations cost businesses millions of dollars in lost revenue annually because of fines or lawsuits because of fines or lawsuits. There are major breaches of trust in terms of patient care and confidentiality as a result of this.
That is why, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, otherwise known as HIPPA, was established in the United States by year 1996. Originally, this legislation was enacted as the healthcare industry made the switch from paper records to digital copies of individuals’ medical records. And since, the HIPAA law has been instrumental in expediting a variety of administrative health functions.
A Brief Background of HIPAA
HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) is a key piece of legislation in the US healthcare system, laying out plenty of standards and safeguards to ensure the safety of individuals’ personal and health information. Whilst HIPAA covers to each member in the healthcare industry who handles patient PHI (protected health information), the following are some of the most notable:
- Business associates
- Covered entities
- Dental practices
- Insurance providers
- Medical students
- Nursing homes
- Physician practices
- Urgent care facilities
The act’s privacy section ensures that individually identifiable health information is protected when it is transmitted over any means. This is critical to the day-to-day functioning of all healthcare organizations. Furthermore, HIPAA protects PHI (Protected Health Information), which covers any identifying information regarding a person’s past, present, or future physical or mental health. This information contains not only their name, social security number (SSN) date of birth, but also, their condition, diagnosis, procedures, conditions, and prognosis.
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) intends to prevent fraud in the healthcare sector. Aside from that, it ensures that all protected health information is adequately secured and that access to health data is restricted to authorized people only.
HIPAA Compliance Training
HIPAA compliance entails more than simply password and system security. If your company handles personal data, such as medical records, it is necessary by law to keep that data secure. Thus, a HIPAA compliance training program is formed to maintain anyone who accesses or handles protected health information (PHI) up to date on HIPAA’s ongoing modifications and applicability.
Any personnel who handles healthcare information is required by law to receive HIPAA training as necessary and appropriate to perform their duties, and with HIPAA training services, a well-designed curriculum can be used to not only reduce the risk of human error and fines but also to save healthcare providers time and money.
Additionally, in-person or online HIPAA training programs are available, but regardless of which option you choose, training programs are a three-step procedure. The following are as follows:
1. Training Preparation
When preparing to execute a HIPAA training program, deciding whether you’ll conduct it in person or online is the first step. When you opt for in-person training, you will have to set a schedule for them to come in.
2. Training Day
During the actual in-person training, a specialist will arrive with a training curriculum that includes fundamental HIPAA definitions, where it is applicable. Also, recommended practices for avoiding violations and noncompliance fines are included. As for online training, employees can complete training on their own time.
3. Certificates of Completion
Employees are granted a training Certificate of Completion after completing HIPAA compliance training and can now identify themselves as HIPAA certified.
HIPAA compliance training is required for each employee who works with patient information. It is important to know that this is not a choice; it is a legal requirement. Nevertheless, it is the responsibility of the company to determine if the rules apply to them.
Significance of HIPAA
The protected health information (PHI) or Electronic protected health information (ePHI) of a patient frequently comprises highly sensitive information that, if disclosed into the wrong hands, could result in significant consequences. This information must be kept secure not only for the sake of patient treatment but also to avoid harm to the patient. If a patient’s health condition is accidentally disclosed to their employer or another family member without their permission, the patient may face several serious implications.
HIPAA offenses and breaches of health information are significant legal offenses. They have the potential to result in extremely costly legal actions that can last for months. The easiest way to deal with these kinds of circumstances is to abide by the HIPAA policies.
Aside from these, compliance from HIPAA provides the following advantages:
1. Laws and regulations are always evolving.
Technology changes constantly, and so do the rules that govern it. You, as a medical professional, are obligated for staying informed about HIPAA updates. What was permissible or unenforced a year ago can now be entirely prohibited. It is the reason why it is so vital to get periodic HIPAA training with the most up-to-date knowledge.
2. It guarantees the safety of both individual employees and the company as a whole.
Patient safety and confidentiality are two of the most critical responsibilities for a health care professional. It would be irresponsible to think otherwise. Considering the emotional impact if a person learns that his or her protected health information has been compromised, ge or she may feel humiliated or outraged. Admittedly, the law has been broken, and his or her trust has been betrayed. The lack of privacy is a societal issue. Moreover, ethical principles begin at the top of a company and work their way down.
3. Prevention of lawsuits and company financial losses.
HIPAA breaches come with hefty monetary expenses, in addition to the moral implications. If a company’s data is breached, it could be penalized millions of dollars. Individuals may also face fines or the revocation of their licenses. More importantly, companies can be sued, which can be destructive to their financial well-being as well as their reputation.
In conclusion, if your company’s financial integrity is important to you, the HIPAA course provides you peace of mind knowing that all employees are abiding by the rules.
4. High-Level Care Maintainance.
Everyone knows that doctors and nurses want to offer aid as much as they could. Providing appropriate HIPAA training adds up to being able to do their tasks effectively. With this, you’ll be ready to broaden and collect more data from patients with the confidence that are capable of keeping it safe.
5. Conformity Aids Strategic Data Protection
Your healthcare company can only grow if it has the means to safeguard the ever-increasing amounts of patient data it collects. You may protect patient data from breaches by using a proactive data risk management approach.
A well-thought-out patient data security management approach also allows your company to respond to new cybersecurity threats as it grows. HIPAA compliance offers the framework for adapting to new technologies without jeopardizing the security of patient data in your possession, which is important because new technologies are released every day in the healthcare industry.
6. Long-Term Profitability
The fact that your organization will not be liable to punitive action if a breach happens is arguably the most significant benefit of being HIPAA-compliant. As a result, the risk of business and reputational harm is significantly reduced compared to if the facility were non-compliant.
As several people in the healthcare sector work daily with PHI but lack legal knowledge, implementing frequent training will ensure that everyone is up to date on current HIPAA regulations, lowering the risk of a non-compliance violation. With HIPAA’s extensive standards influencing practically every aspect of healthcare, it is critical to provide HIPAA training “as necessary and suitable for members of the workforce to carry out their functions.”
The need of having a HIPAA-compliant practice should be recognized by hospitals and other medical facilities. This involves ensuring that partners are adhering to HIPAA regulations. And besides, hospitals and their partners collect massive amounts of personal information from patients daily.
Monetary charges, remedies, loss of patient confidence, and reputational damage can all arise from data breaches and other HIPAA violations. All of these implications have a serious influence on a healthcare organization’s success.