How to reduce HIPAA violations in healthcare companies, hospitals, etc.
HIPAA violations are serious problems for healthcare companies, doctor’s offices, and hospitals. Here are a few ways to reduce the instance of violations:
Know your status:
Most companies are aware of their HIPAA status but some may not realize that as a subsidiary, they may already be satisfying the definition of a HIPAA health plan and more. Understanding where you stand in regards to compliance is the first step in ensuring you are in fact compliant.
Know your data flows:
It is imperative to understand how your data is handled when it comes into your organization, what is done with it once it’s there and what happens once it flows out. Developing a working compliance program that is run smoothly and efficiently should cover information such as:
- How is data collected, created, received, used, disclosed, maintained, stored, transmitted, and destroyed?
- Break it down into further detail: Who collects data, where is it stored, who needs to access it, and why for all of the above?
Learn from your mistakes: In the event of a violation, use it as a learning experience. Take time to evaluate why and how the breach took place and amend your systems to prevent further or repeated breaches.
Prepare for Audits:
Obviously, if your organization is going to be under scrutiny you will have a higher risk of being given a violation. Knowing that you will be looked at closely you should review and assess all of your systems and procedures and make any corrections that need to be made ahead of time.
Prepare for violations:
Violations cannot be prevented 100%. Humans are still fallible and it is important to anticipate a violation in order to remedy the problem.
You can’t prevent violations if you don’t know where risks are. Performing routine risk assessments that depend on your current operations and data flows is most helpful. Some companies may be satisfied with a risk assessment every few years, but others may want to perform them annually.
Keep it simple:
While technology can be a great asset and a benefit to keeping HIPAA compliance, don’t forget about the simple procedures and safeguards that can be just as effective. With locks on cabinets, paper shredders, and medication pill bottles properly handled to protect health information, you can remain compliant easily and simply.