Since the legislation of the HIPAA Act in 1996, all healthcare institutions were prohibited from sharing the details of their patients medical records with third parties. The regulation has been enacted several times to protect the information that they give to healthcare facilities. It’s therefore against the law for any hospital or clinic to disclose the personal data of it’s patients with other people that are not affiliated with the institution.
The government actually schedules for unannounced audits to ensure that all healthcare institutions withhold confidential information. This is because it’s assumed that all health facilities store their data electronically, popularly known as EMR (Electronic Medical Records). The problem with this regulation is that your clinic will be fined heavily even when it’s clear that the information was disclosed by one of your snoopy and ignorant employee. Below is a list of things that your staff should know about HIPAA compliance.
- HIPAA Compliance is Mandatory
The HIPAA Act clearly states that it is a must for all health institutions to comply with the regulation. Your staff therefore can’t be exempted from protecting confidential information. It’s actually upon you to train your employees on how to observe this law. As a matter of fact, research has proved that some medical personnel violate the act without knowing. The best way of training your employees is to hold seminars that elaborate on the risks of failing to comply with HIPAA. This will make them aware of the consequences that will follow them and the institution in case they share health details of your patients.
- Compliance with HIPAA is Affordable
Complying with HIPAA is not as expensive as most people are made to believe. You only need to ensure that data is not accessed by unauthorized employees and you will be good to go. If data has to be shared within your health facility via email, there has to be encryption in the messaging platform to prevent the information from being seen by the wrong people.
Besides that, all medical records should be stored in a dedicated server that can only be accessed using a unique password. As a matter of fact, the amount of money that you will spend in acquiring secure IT infrastructure will depend on the size of the healthcare facility. But this can’t be compared with the hefty fine that’s imposed on defaulters. You can actually consult HIPAA compliant healthcare IT companies such as TrueNorth ITG.
- Non Compliance can Ground Your Clinic
If you operate a private clinic and your employees don’t comply with HIPAA, your business may not survive. This is because you will have to part with a huge amount of money due to heavy penalty. In fact, there are health facilities that have been forced to pay millions of dollars just because their staff stole patient information and shared it with other parties. Moreover, when your employees refuse to comply with the act, the reputation of the healthcare institution is at risk. When your reputation is ruined by non compliance, patients will avoid visiting your clinic and opt for other compliant centers. Lest you forget, restoring damaged reputation takes ages.