7 Steps to HIPAA Compliance

7 Steps to HIPAA Compliance

HIPAA Compliance is a Law

If your company is in possession of sensitive private patient files or private data, then you should ensure that your company is in compliance with HIPAA. HIPAA stands for Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 and it was enacted by Congress to protect patient data. You could face civil or criminal penalties if you and your company falls out of the expected standards of HIPAA.

Nevada IT Solutions offers IT services for organisations within the healthcare industry, ensuring that your company is in general regulatory compliance of HIPAA. HIPAA has been amended many times since its conception in 1996 to keep up with the ever-changing technological world. Concerning your business, this means that you could fall out of HIPAA compliance as fast as you can secure the data properly. Nevada IT Solutions can be your trusted partner to ensure that your compliance is up to date so your business is not in harm’s way.

For example, most recently, in 2013, the final Omnibus Rule was added. This amendment made changes to two of the central pillars of HIPAA – The Security Rule and the Breach Notification Rule. What it boils down to is that now your providers are required to ensure that every member in the patient information chain is in full compliance with the HIPAA regulations. That takes a lot of time and attention to detail. How can this be done? Here are 7 steps to mitigate your risk of unlawful action.

  • Hire a dedicated security staff

Outsourcing healthcare IT management from a team of dedicated and informed professionals will ensure that your compliance protocol is met. Leave the execution of policies to those who know about HIPAA amendments the minute they happen. This takes the stress out of the equation and ensures that your legal requirements are being met with the utmost care and expertise. Nevada IT Solutions is able to seam the gaps in compliance that might otherwise be looked over.

  • Develop a cohesive privacy policy

Implementing a privacy policy requiring employees to receive appropriate training on HIPAA. Prior to the training, run frequent quality assurance tests to ensure that the policy is properly being met. This will prepare the entirety of your staff with knowledge of HIPAA and how it must be maintained. It is also wise to require third party vendors to be trained on the policy as well. If you are looking on more information on HIPAA or how to train your employees, Nevada IT Solutions can assist.

  • Have an internal auditing process

Test your policies and procedures. Performing regular risk assessments allows your company to evaluate the likelihood of a breach and apply appropriate corrective procedures as maintenance. Document the results of the audits as reference and attend to the changes that need to be made, whether it is through a hired service or not. Our team provides frequent reporting and audits to make sure that all of your data is correctly and formally protected.

  • Stipulate specific email policies

Email is not the most secure form of communication. Concerning patient data, HIPAA recognizes this and includes this in the regulations. Take the steps to ensure that organizational email is encrypted with the proof documented, in order to remain in compliance with HIPAA.

  • Establish explicate training protocols

The up-front investment of training employees in HIPAA-related security protocols will far outweigh the legal ramifications and costs of having an employee or third party vendor unprepared. Along with the initial training courses, it is wise to have frequent refresher courses. Also, don’t forget to document the progress.

  • Understanding breach notification requirements

The protocol for the steps following a data breach is very specific and it must be followed explicitly. A good way to avoid confusion or a missed step is to read the Breach Notification Rule. In doing so, you will be better prepared knowing what constitutes a breach, how to avoid a breach, and what to do if you experience a breach. By working with Nevada IT Solutions, you will be prepared and prevented from the possibility of a breach ever taking place. It is better to be safe, than sorry.

  • Secure business relationships

All employees and vendors must follow provisions of the HIPAA statute. Take the time to make sure that all involved are HIPAA-compliant and that they are aware of the proper procedures. Have documentation that asserts their compliance, and obligates them to follow training and auditing procedures if necessary.
In order to stay in compliance with HIPAA, you must exercise not only your own diligence, but the diligence of all parties involved to ensure continuing education. Being prepared for the future will prevent potential costly fees, negative reputation development, and legal ramifications later on. Preparation and maintenance can be handed off to the professionals of Nevada IT Solutions so that you may focus on the aspects about your business directly.

Nevada IT Solutions offers free HIPAA compliance audit for companies in the Reno-Tahoe region. Take advantage of our FREE offer today by contacting us.

Nevada IT Solutions, is a managed service provider and an IT consulting company, serving Reno, Sparks and the rest of Northern Nevada region.