5 Tips for HIPAA Audits

5 Tips for HIPAA Audits

As we swiftly navigate this digital age, we must stop occasionally to ensure that the data we generate is secure. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA)provides one such toll booth. It is designed to protect patients’ healthcare data from misuse and fraudulent behavior. While HIPAA audits are essential, they can also seem like a huge burden to the organizations being audited. Not meeting HIPAA-compliance requirements could mean legal action as well. So, why not be prepared to smoothly sail through your next HIPAA audit? Here are 5 tips you should follow for HIPAA audits:

Conduct an internal audit

It is always less troublesome when you detect your own mistakes before someone else points them out. Early identification of errors means you will have enough time to correct them before the HIPAA audit. Set a timeline to evaluate your HIPAA-compliance, preferably one that includes multiple, regularself-audits. You could even hire a third-party organization to help you with the internal audit. They would be able to provide an outsider’s perspective to your organization’s security measures.

Perform risk analysis

Just as natural disasters are best fought with a disaster management plan in place, your organization needs a risk management plan. In events of a network breach, it is important that you take quick and correct measures to prevent leakage of data. To develop a risk management plan, you first need to identify the security risks to whichyour organization is exposed. Strategize your attack based off the risks identified during this risk analysis.

Train your employees

Prior to any HIPAA audits, you must ensure that all your employees are familiar with HIPAA compliance requirements. However, just training your employees is not often enough. You should maintain thorough documentation of the training as well. It is great if you already have a regular training schedule in place. However, everyone needs refreshers when it comes to something as important as HIPAA audits. This ensures that when the Office of Civil Rights(OCR)comes by, your employees can answer any questions about HIPAA-compliance.

Review your third-party agreements

Your healthcare facility may have tie-ups with third-party organizations for several reasons. These could be to provide specialized diagnostics tests or review a certain scan; both constitute sensitive patient health information.
Before a HIPAA audit, it is essential that you review your agreements with such organizations. Assess the security checks these organizations have in place.
Be honest about non-compliance
During self-audits, there may be times when you detect some instances of HIPAA non-compliance in your organization. It is important to be honest with your HIPAA auditors about such incidents. Also be ready to tell them how your organization acted to contain such data breaches.Being forthright shows your resolve to be compliant.


Although HIPAA is in the best interests of all patients, your anxiety over the OCR auditing your organization is understandable. The next time you are due for a HIPAA audit, breathe calmly and follow our tips. You will be just fine