The world has certainly changed.
There used to be a time when doctor-patient confidentiality could be enforced by keeping documents under lock and key. Now, as most services and organizations handling medical information have chosen to go the digital route, the protection of Personal Health Information (PHI) is becoming ever more critical.
As a result of increasing acts of digital vandalism and data breaches, medical information is now at more of a risk than anytime previously. Recent onslaughts such as the WannaCry Ransomware fiasco exposed just how fragile the security systems that we currently use are.
In such a scenario it is more important than ever to comply with HIPAA standards for ensuring the protection of PHI. Failure to comply could result in severe data breaches which can invite millions of dollars in fines and other business losses. As a result, more and more organizations covered under the act are looking to implement compliance.
To make the process of HIPAA compliance assessment smoother for your organization, here are top five tips to help you along the way.
Perform a Readiness Review
Before embarking on the actual act of initiating the assessment, first you need to gauge how ready your organization is for compliance. A readiness review can help:. This involves taking stock of existing documentation, holding meetings with managers and talking to the staff in general.
Prepare your Staff
Your staff are the pillars of the organization. Being the most granular level at which PHI is handled, they are the most important links in the security chain. Make sure all members of your staff are well prepared for the compliance assessment. Guaranteeing that your staff members are all on the same page is crucial to HIPAA success.
Be Aware of the Requirements
Being HIPAA compliant can be a complex task, so you need to be extra vigilant and aware of the multiple facets of the regulatory framework. Staying up to date with the latest regulations can contribute towards ensuring that you do not fall short of any requirements.
Don’t Bite Off More Than You Can Chew
Often, keeping the multiple facets of the assessment in mind while ensuring compliance can become overwhelming. If you feel this is the case, then don’t hesitate to hire professionals to do the job for you. Remember, it’s better to be safe than sorry; trying to do everything in-house can severely hinder your daily operations. Seek help where and when needed.
Keep your Documentation Handy
One of the best practices you can follow to ensure a smooth compliance assessment is keeping all relevant documents arranged systematically in an easily accessible format. This can aid the assessors in accessing the necessary information conveniently.
The core purpose of HIPAA is to protect the interests of patients and organizations handling patient data. The world of medical data security is growing more complex by the second. In this environment of burgeoning threats to the safekeeping of medical information, an act such as HIPAA can prove to be a life saver indeed.