HIPAA Compliance Pitfalls Physicians Should be Aware Of

Did you know HIPAA violations can result in fines ranging from $100 to $1.5 million for practices?

HIPAA was created to standardize the process of safeguarding private patient information. But unfortunately, most practices are failing to implement even the basic HIPAA requirements. They are considering compliance needs as a one-time goal and not an ongoing process, putting patient data security at risk.

HIPAA Compliance
HIPAA Compliance

Are you tripping on HIPAA laws?

From texting of patient data and use of social platforms to lack of protocols for access management, there are several reasons that often lead healthcare organizations to trip on HIPAA law.

When it comes to compliance, employee negligence and evolving regulatory environment are also top concerns for providers.

Common compliance pitfalls that providers must avoid:

Considering the rise in cyber threats and evolvement of technology, it has become extremely important for providers to work towards better HIPAA compliance policies and avoid the pitfalls.

  • HIPAA privacy violations must be avoided and this can be done only when the healthcare professionals have a good understanding of the Privacy Rule. Every entity dealing with PHI (Protected Health Information) should understand when it can and cannot be shared. If PHI, not permitted to be disclosed under the Privacy Rule is disclosed, it will result in heavy penalties. This issue arises when practice staff isn’t trained in HIPAA compliance.
  • Second pitfall is related to social breaches under which accidental breaches in social situations are quite common. Not every patient has a clear sense of HIPAA. There are chances that they will enquire about a friend to the healthcare provider in a social setting, without realizing that it is HIPAA violation. In such cases, if providers don’t have a well planned response; it can lead to a lot of trouble.
  • Accessing patient data on personal devices is the third most common compliance pitfall. Accessing information from a personal computer isn’t a violation but it can be a risky behavior. Providers should not leave the tablet or computer unattended when accessing patient notes or data. They also need to avoid working in areas where others can see the information on their laptop screen. If PHI gets stolen or accessed by wrong people, it can result in heavy fines.
  • Loss of device with PHI, mishandling of medical records and failure to enter into HIPAA-compliant business associate agreements are also compliance pitfalls that must be avoided.

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