Why HIPAA Compliance Is Crucial to Your Practice
Many doctors and practice owners see HIPAA compliance as another expense that they would be more than happy to do without if they can get away with it. With all the requirements needed to be compliant and the ongoing maintenance to take care of, it adds more work than value to their practice.
Most of them would rather invest their time and energy growing their practice.
What they don’t appreciate is that HIPAA compliance has a purpose and plays a vital role in the healthcare industry. It is most beneficial to patients that doctors and practice owners must serve and serve well.
This only shows that becoming compliant is advantageous on many levels.
If they take the time to fully understand what this piece of legislation is all about, doctors and practitioners will see it for its value rather than the money it costs.
What is HIPAA?
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) is the law that provides the privacy standards on how to protect patients’ medical records and other information provided and used by doctors, health plans, hospitals and other health care providers.
The regulations also apply to Health Care Clearinghouses, the entities responsible for “translating” electronic data between health plans and providers that use non-compatible information systems.
HIPAA Provisions cover Electronic Data Interchange (EDI), Privacy, Security, and National Standard Identifiers.
The role of HIPAA is best understood and appreciated during a security breach in huge healthcare companies and organizations. If they are non-HIPAA compliant, their problems are tenfold.
They also put their patients at risk by allowing hackers to access private information that can be exploited in different ways.
This is why HIPAA compliance matters more than what most people think.
Why is HIPAA compliance important for healthcare organizations?
Protection against theft
The HIPAA security rules specify that electronic Protected Health Information (ePHI) must be protected and safeguarded according to security standards when it is both at rest and in transit. With this measure in place, theft, whether physical or otherwise, will have minimum impact on a clinic or healthcare provider.
Technical safeguards under HIPAA requires ePHI to be within the internal firewalled servers of an organization when at rest and then encrypted to NIST standards once it travels beyond the firewalled area. Doing so ensures that confidential patient data becomes unreadable, unusable, and indecipherable in a breach.
Protection against loss of patient trust
After a break in and an unencrypted hard drive has been stolen, reporting the theft to the Department of Health and Human Services is not the worst of it. Practitioners also have to face all their affected patients and tell them the bad news. Imagine the impact of every patient’s reaction.
A company or organization will not only lose their trust but their business as well.
As if that would not sting the bottom line, the clinic would also have to pay a heavy fine to the Office of Civil Rights as compensation for being negligent with patient data.
With these two reasons alone, it is easy to see that HIPAA regulations are not designed to annoy or hurt the practice but protect doctors and patients. So contact Branch Technologies today and let us help you achieve compliance today!