Understanding HIPAA Security Compliance: What is HIPAA Law

The name Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) may ring some bells for you, but chances are, you don’t fully understand it. The act has been with us since 1996 and it has developed along with technology.

The original purpose of the HIPAA law was to make sure that people were able to move their health insurance between providers as they moved location or jobs. The act also makes it easier to move patient data while protecting it at the same time.

If you run a business that handles medical records and healthcare data, you’ll need to know all about HIPAA security compliance.

Let’s take a look at everything you need to know about HIPAA security

HIPAA Law Compliance Is Not Optional

If you run an organization that utilizes any healthcare data, you must comply with HIPAA. You may have heard of the Meaningful Use incentive; this incentivizes organizations to adopt electronic health records.

HIPAA differs from the Meaningful Use incentive in that if your organization handles any protected health information (PHI), then you’ll need to attain HIPAA compliance.

There are several parts of HIPAA that need to be followed at all times. These include:

  • The HIPAA Breach Notification
  • The HIPAA Security Rule
  • The HIPAA Privacy Rule

All of these are in place to protect patient confidentiality. If you don’t comply with any aspect, you could be in breach of HIPAA laws.

HIPAA Compliance Won’t Cost the Earth

There are some costs involved in putting HIPAA security compliance into place. These costs involve having a secure messaging system set up in your organization, making sure your employees are fully trained, as well as carrying out your HIPAA risk assessment.

The costs involved in these activities may be less than you’d expect, however, they will vary based on the size and scope of your organization.

You can use a Security Risk Assessment Tool whenever you carry out a full HIPAA risk assessment. An even better option would be to outsource the work to a specialist IT company to carry out the work on your behalf.

Any staff training required as part of your HIPAA compliance could be done alongside regular team training events to save money. This will help make sure your training doesn’t drain your time or finances.

HIPAA Violations Fines Might Cost the Earth Though

Although the costs associated with HIPAA compliance may be less than you’d imagine, the fines for not adhering to HIPAA can be crippling.

One example is that back in 2018, Anthem was ordered to pay a non-compliance fine amounting to £16-million.

It is essential that you put all of the necessary measures in place to ensure you’re compliant. A single violation for just one compromised patient record might cost you as much as $59,522. There is a calendar cap of $1,785,651.

Another example of a data breach that could have been very costly was the New York-Presbyterian Hospital who accidentally disclosed the medical records of approximately 6,800 patients.

In all, the fines could have amounted to over $340 million. Luckily for them, the fine was just $3.3 million.

Complying With HIPAA Laws Will Improve Employee Efficiency

As someone who runs a healthcare organization, you may have concerns regarding how efficient your team will be once you’ve implemented HIPAA security compliance measures.

You can be confident that complying with HIPAA won’t harm efficiency. Moreover, by attaining HIPAA compliance, your organization will become more efficient.

This is because of the convenience offered by the mobile communication required to make you HIPAA compliant.

Doctors Don’t Need Consent to Share Patient Data With Other Doctors

HIPAA law makes it possible for doctors to share patient data easily with other doctors. As a patient, you’re not required to give permission for your medical records to get passed on to another doctor.

A doctor can disclose any information that they see fit so that a patient can receive treatment or pay for the care they’ve received.

Healthcare Organizations Own the Medical Records

A patient has the right to access their medical records under HIPAA. However, as a patient, you don’t have ownership of your own medical files. It is your healthcare provider that owns this information.

Health providers and insurance companies need to comply with your right to view your medical records and have them amended. They also need to pay attention to your marketing preferences and how you’ll receive notifications about how the information is shared.

If you are concerned about an infringement of your rights, you can file a complaint with your health provider, insurer, or the Department of Health and Human Services.

HIPAA Violations Damage Your Reputation

If your healthcare business commits a HIPAA violation, then this will result in a financial penalty. Not only this, but the violation could seriously erode patient trust in you.

Trust is essential within healthcare. Your success will rely on having this trust in place. Any breach of patient data could completely destroy years of goodwill that you may have built up.

By ensuring HIPAA security compliance, you’ll be able to reduce the chance of this happening.

Managing Your HIPAA Security

In order to maintain HIPAA security, you must adhere to the basic tenets of the HIPAA laws. One of the best ways that you can do this is by having a third-party company come in and carry out risk assessments on your behalf.

Although there may be some costs involved in setting your organization up to be HIPAA compliant, the efficiency that you gain will make up for it. In addition, by ensuring compliance, you’ll be able to avoid any unnecessary violation penalties.

For more useful information, check out the rest of the law articles here.

About Ambika Taylor

Myself Ambika Taylor. I am admin of https://hammburg.com/. For any business query, you can contact me at [email protected]