Short Course on Resources – Getting to Square 1

The Basic Steps of Becoming a HIPAA Compliant A regulation was passed in 1996, called the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act or HIPAA, that aims to restructure the health care industry by streamlining administrative procedures and increasing a patient’s privacy and security with regards to his or her information. Not only the health care professionals in hospitals, clinics and dental practices are affected by the HIPAA requirements, other providers who have access to personal health information like call center agents, medical equipment providers and insurance staff are also directed in this regulation. There were only few penalties given to those companies, in the past many years, who do not meet HIPAA requirements as far as privacy and security in handling the patient’s data. Lately, changes have been slowly made and considerable tougher audits and bigger fines are imposed on companies that fail to pass the HIPAA legislation. Therefore, if you work in an environment that needs you to understand HIPAA guidelines and polices, you have three methods to be HIPAA compliant. Your first step to HIPAA compliance is to assign a HIPAA compliance officer in your organization. A course should be completed by this officer about HIPAA compliance and his or her job would be to maintain and enforce HIPAA requirements. All staff members have to be made sure that they understand the impact of HIPAA provisions and policies on the company. All employees should have the opportunity to have attend an ongoing staff training about HIPAA requirements. The training has to be customized, especially not all staff members have the same level of access to a patient’s data.
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Another step is to ensure that proper safeguarding is done on all patient data. Therefore, all information and records of a patient should only be made accessed by authorized personnel. If you have a computer system that contains these sensitive data, the system should be strictly controlled and loaded up with an up to date antivirus software. Also, make sure that your electronic data is regularly backed up.
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If you abide on the mentioned steps, the framework of meeting your HIPAA requirements should be ensured. Be reminded that the most critical part of the process is the selection of the HIPAA compliance officer and that the person receives the best HIPAA requirements training. Once the person has completed his or her training, he or she should be ready to put in place in all areas of the organization the HIPAA requirements, should conduct the training of staff and establishing procedures of security and management of patients data, and to make sure that computer systems are secured and backed up. If your company needs to be HIPAA compliant, then these procedures should be met.