Have you ever wondered what a HIPAA violation would mean for your practice or business?
A violation isn’t something as simple as a ticket or slap on the wrist. A HIPAA violation could cost your medical practice or business tens of thousands of dollars, and in some severe cases could even result in the loss of licenses.
The best way to avoid violation problems is to have your internal staff follow a HIPAA compliance checklist. This way you can ensure that everyone at work is doing what they can to be compliant.
Do you want to know what to add to your checklist? Keep reading to learn certain practices you should follow and add to your rule list.
Your Ultimate HIPAA Compliance Checklist
Don’t think that only doctor’s and nurses need to be HIPAA compliant. If you deal with medically sensitive data in any capacity, you need to be compliant.
You can’t monitor everyone around the clock, and you want to trust that our employees are doing the right thing. HIPAA compliance requirements may seem complicated, but it’s possible for everyone to follow the rules with the right help.
Follow these HIPAA best practices to ensure that you’re doing everything you can to ensure that your staff is staying compliant.
Utilize Data Encryption
Encrypting data may be the best way to ensure that sensitive patient data stays safe.
Encryption is a method people use to convert sensitive information into code that’s difficult to decipher. This ensures that if data gets into the wrong hands that it would be nearly impossible for hackers or other people to use or understand.
People that are concerned about HIPAA IT compliance have been advocates for data encryption. If you want to ensure that data is protected and that you’re doing whatever you can to stay compliant, look into encrypting your most sensitive files and data.
Restrict Physical Access
A lot of people tend to think about security in the digital sense, but can overlook how vulnerable their sensitive information is to physical threats.
Anyone with a key could access your office and paper files. Someone new on your cleaning crew could obtain access to patient files when they go in to clean an office.
Utilizing a keypad instead of a traditional lock and key for your office may be one of the easiest ways to handle physical security.
People won’t be able to accidentally misplace keys or have then stolen. You can also change access codes whenever you want, and can easily prevent old employees from getting access to sensitive information.
Also, tell your staff about the importance of not letting paper files sit on desks. Encourage people to put away sensitive files when they walk away from their desk and to put everything away before they leave work.
Secure Remote Access
It isn’t uncommon for some front desk staff at medical offices to work from home when they can. Some doctors and nurses may even choose to do some patient file work at home after a long day to catch up.
The internet has made our lives a lot easier, but this opens up a lot of potential problems when it comes to data safety.
It’s also important to note that sometimes your own patients could be a data security risk on their own. If people are able to connect to your office’s internet when they’re waiting in the lobby, it’s possible that someone could use their phone or laptop to access data.
Password protecting your office’s intranet and other sensitive files can help solve a lot of potential data vulnerabilities.
Make sure that everyone in your office has a strong and unique password and username. Don’t have them use passwords that they’ve used in other places or contain information that can be easily guessed. Using a random character generator for a password may be the most secure way to create login information.
To solve this issue, you may want to use multi-factor authentication. Consider having your staff have to enter a security token or a one-time password token if they want to access information on different devices or outside of your office’s intranet.
Some companies have had luck with issuing company phones and encourage iPlum HIPAA texting to ensure that all work communications are kept safe and confidential.
Continually Train Employees
If you want to ensure that your staff stays compliant, schedule frequent periodic training sessions and stress the importance of staying HIPAA compliant when they’re at home and at work.
Don’t assume that HIPAA training should only focus on the basics of how to handle information once they start at your office or practice.
Your staff may know that they can’t discuss certain things about patients to people they don’t have authorized to hear it, but they may think nothing of taking a confidential work call in a crowded public place.
Work With the Right Third Parties
You know that everyone on staff follows HIPAA compliance, but you may not know how compliant other professional services you use are.
Do you know if the company that handles your billing is HIPAA complaint? Have you chosen a tax accountant that knows how to work with medical professionals and keep information secure? Does your marketing company understand the importance of compliance?
Working with a 3rd party that isn’t HIPAA compliant could lead you vulnerable to security breaches and lawsuits. You could find yourself in trouble if they happen to make a mistake through no fault of your own
If you want to ensure total compliance, everyone you’re working with needs to be on the same page. Try to only work with 3rd party vendors if you can ensure that they’ll be HIPAA compliant.
Stay Compliant and Tech Savvy
Having and following a HIPAA compliance checklist can help everyone stay compliant. If you follow the tips in this post, you’ll be able to stay compliant with no trouble.
Are you curious about how different business sectors are using technology? Do you want to learn about the best technology practices you can start using today?
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