Anyone that works in or with the healthcare industry in the U.S. and handles protected health information (PHI) is required to comply with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).
This act has multiple provisions designed to ensure that sensitive patient information is protected and that patients have access to their records.
Although HIPAA is mandated, it’s not always followed entirely by health industry organizations. In a study relating to the HIPAA-mandated right of patient access, it was found that over 51% of providers did not comply with the rule.
Some of the reasons for non-compliance are:
- Lack of understanding what HIPAA requires
- Insufficient I.T. security protocols
- Afraid that compliance will cost too much
- Employees not being properly trained on compliance
HIPAA compliance is important for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that it’s a requirement for any healthcare providers and those that may work with them and have access to PHI.
Complying with HIPAA is also often just common sense when it comes to data and network security.
Reasons Your Healthcare Industry Business Should Focus on HIPAA Compliance
Non-Compliance is Expensive
If your company suffers a data breach of confidential patient information or is reported by a patient for a HIPAA violation, it can lead to costly consequences.
HIPAA fines levied so far in 2020 range from $3,500 to $6,650,000.
If companies are found to be negligent in a violation, meaning they did not have proper HIPAA compliance structures in place, then fines are higher. Penalties can range from $100 to $50,000 per each incident or record exposed. Serious violations can also carry criminal charges.
Complying with HIPAA Improves Your Cybersecurity
Any business needs to have a good cybersecurity strategy in place to prevent data breaches, malware attacks, fileless attacks, and other costly security incidents.
When it comes to compliance with the protection of digital patient records, HIPAA compliance is really just smart cybersecurity best practices.
HIPAA recommendations for protecting electronic PHI (e-PHI) involve strategies such as:
- Access management
- Workstation and device security
- Cloud security
- Data breach protections
- Transmission security
- Secure storage and retention
- Employee awareness training
- Password security
Each of these activities will strengthen your company’s overall I.T. security, protecting you from a breach or malware infection at the same time as keeping you HIPAA compliant.
Compliance Doesn’t Have to Be Costly
With the automated security protections available today, complying with HIPAA doesn’t have to be costly. When you put systems in place, such as managed I.T. services, you can automate much of the protection you need to stay compliant.
Managed I.T. includes protections such as managed patches/updates, monitored antivirus/anti-malware, backup and recovery, and more. This gives you multiple safeguards for HIPAA compliance in a single service package that also keeps your equipment running efficiently.
Improves Your Reputation
Consumers are very aware of privacy in today’s digital environment and have more concerns than ever that their information is being properly protected.
If your firm advertises that you’re fully HIPAA compliant, it gives potential patients a level of security that they can trust your business to properly protect their sensitive information.
You Can Lose Business if You Don’t Comply
HIPAA violations and fines aren’t kept private. You can easily find lists online and even press releases put out by HHS regarding companies that have been fined, what the violation was, and what they had to pay.
If your company gets hit with a HIPAA violation, you can lose existing patients as well as new ones. This damage to your reputation can have long-lasting impacts, costing you business for years.
Provides You with a Framework for Handling PHI & PHI Requests
HIPAA offers a helpful framework for how you handle PHI and requests for PHI by patients. Instead of having to spend time and money coming up with your own policies and procedures, the HIPAA guidelines lay everything out for you, all your organization has to do is follow them.
You can find detailed information by reviewing HIPAA regulations regarding timelines for data breach reporting, how to handle a request by a patient for their health records, and much more.
Promotes Good Patient Practices
HIPAA promotes good patient practices throughout your organization, which include respect for patient rights, treating someone’s personal information as if it were your own, and other fundamental values that support patient care.
It also emphasizes the importance of protecting someone’s privacy, which is a basic human and societal value.
Get Help with Efficient & Effective HIPAA Compliance Solutions
Texas I.T. Pros can help your Denton or Wise County business put HIPAA compliance solutions in place that are cost-efficient, effective, and keep your business safeguarded.
Contact us today to learn more! Call 940-239-6500 or reach out online.