There are numerous times when personal data is shared in today’s digital world. Especially in the healthcare sector, medical confidentiality is under serious threat. And under any circumstances, if you fail to protect a patient’s private health information, you will be subjected to severe HIPAA fines and penalties.
Why should health information be private?
First and foremost, patients want to trust their doctors and keep trusting them. Patients need to believe what goes on in their visits is confidential. When patients believe that their doctor won’t share any information about their health, illnesses, or personal habits with others, they are likely to be more honest. In addition to treatment efficacy, this is also good for your business overall.
Also, when patients’ health information gets compromised, for example, gets stolen, it might even lead to medical identity theft. Medical identity theft is where an individual’s private information is used to fraudulently obtain healthcare or government benefits, or medical equipment, or to forge insurance claims. As bad as this is for the patient, your practice can also be held liable.
With all that being said, protecting patients’ private health information is not just a good idea, it’s required by law. Specifically, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) governs the privacy and security of patients’ health information. If your business is already handling patients’ private health information, you should already be complying with HIPAA.
If you are not, you should get started as soon as possible. You can start here with the help of HIPAA Ready.
A Few Important Tips
Secure Your Devices
All electronic devices that hold patients’ private health information should be secured with reasonable and appropriate controls to protect against unauthorized access. You should assess your environment and IT infrastructure and apply reasonable and appropriate physical, technical, and administrative safeguards.
Protect Physical Records
All your employees should conform to the HIPAA Rules and ensure that physical records are always handled properly, kept away from prying eyes, and stored in a safe and secure location. All the workforce members must receive proper HIPAA training on the importance of protecting patients’ health information and how to best handle their information with useful tips and suggestions.
Wondering where to get effective HIPAA training materials? Get started with HIPAA Ready now and automate your training process.
Be Careful Before Sharing Health Information
Employees should be careful when sharing health information over unsecured networks, non-compliant messaging apps, and email platforms. Sharing information over these platforms, in particular, can expose patients’ data to risk tenfold. This is exactly where cyber attackers are looking for opportunities. It’s best to encrypt the records before transmission. Also, healthcare providers should especially be careful before posting on social media like Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. Always remember to get the patients’ consent before sharing their information on social media for marketing or other purposes.
Manage All HIPAA Activities from One App
Many healthcare organizations have had unpleasant experiences when it comes to HIPAA compliance. However, HIPAA compliance does not have to be overbearing or unnecessarily complicated and expensive.
Because with HIPAA Ready, you can manage all the enforcement activities and maintain solid documentation for your compliance program at an affordable rate. The app includes training management features, security and incident management features, business associate management features, and other features to help simplify compliance for you.