HIPAA, or the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, remains the driving force behind compliance practices in the management of patient information.
This article will demystify HIPAA, explain why it is important, and share several steps every healthcare provider and human resources (HR) representative can take to protect employee and patient data confidentiality.
HIPAA is a federal law that gives patients certain rights over their personal healthcare history and information. It sets limits on who can access their health records and prevents sensitive data from being disclosed without patient consent. Healthcare providers must adhere to federal standards to protect patient electronic health records (EHR) from theft, destruction, or alteration by employees as well as external threats.
This information not only applies to clinical data and medications – which are nobody’s business – but also to other aspects of patient profiles such as insurance and billing information, social security number, and date of birth. Violations can result in penalties and fines to the provider, and possible termination for employees who leak patient data.
In essence, HIPAA can be boiled down to three rules:
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A HIPAA security risk assessment is an appraisal of a healthcare provider’s level of compliance with the three HIPAA rules discussed above. It analyses current security measures, identifies potential threats and vulnerabilities of information systems and employees that might be exploited, determines the likelihood of a breach, and makes recommendations to close any gaps.
A HIPAA security risk assessment looks at an organization’s preparedness for preventing and addressing a security breach through three lenses, administrative, physical, and technical.
Even if your healthcare organization has yet to perform a HIPAA security risk assessment, there are some simple steps every entity can take to reduce the chance of information mismanagement and resulting penalties, including:
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When is the last time your organization took a hard look at your HIPAA compliance risk profile? Are you doing everything you can to ensure the privacy of patient information and protect your bottom line?
Solutions like our Patient Information Management services automate billing, correspondence, and claims processing. Create and mail accurate patient packets, transform prescriptions into a paperless process with cloud faxing, and manage referrals faster – all while maintaining the strictest levels of privacy for worry-free HIPAA compliance.