HIPAA Compliance: Why Is It Important?

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Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act or HIPAA is a federal law that regulates the management of protected health information. It was created to improve the efficiency and security of the health insurance system. With such, it’s essential to ensure HIPAA compliance, which is elaborated more below.

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1. Avoid Legal Conflicts

Organizations that interact with Protected Health Information (PHI) have no other option but to utilize HIPAA-approved measures mandated by law. HIPAA Security Rule, Privacy Rule, and Breach Notification Rule are only some of the regulations that your company should adhere to for the sake of protecting patient privacy. If you don't have HIPAA certification, it means you're violating the law. 

Furthermore, HIPAA violations can incur several consequences to your organization, especially since the US government has increased its HIPAA implementation in 2016. They released a series of compliance audits as part of the HIPAA compliance audit program in line with this. On top of that, it also heightened the punishment for proven HIPAA violation and noncompliance by up to 10%. This means that businesses that deal with electronically protected health information (ePHI) have increased responsibility. 

If your company has yet to take the required steps to become HIPAA-certified, now is the perfect time. Neglecting these responsibilities and practices can place your entire organization at risk of several lawsuits. 

As mentioned earlier, HIPAA violations can result in substantial monetary penalties. These penalties are in place to drive healthcare facilities to follow the HIPAA regulations and penalize those who refuse to do so. The fines associated with HIPAA violations depend on the severity of defiance and the healthcare facility's awareness of the violation.

In some instances, HIPAA violations lead to criminal sentences, especially if the infringement was deliberate. If, for example, a patient's personal health information was sold willfully, the healthcare professional will face charges, and the company might be fined for negligence. 

2. Anticipate Problem Areas

Another great importance of HIPAA compliance is the additional protection it brings. This extra protection can be a defense against information disclosure that you couldn’t have anticipated. 

This aspect of HIPAA certification encapsulates any online data transmission, including email and other in-house communication, and the transfer of patient data or records. Such communication can be done privately within your server. 

As the head of the facility, it's your responsibility to regularly evaluate your HIPAA compliance measures, such as your security and privacy protocols. You've got to ensure that you're implementing all regulations, and remember that this is a continuous process. The purpose of this is to locate any potential weakness so that you can fix possible issues before it worsens. 

3. Maintain Standards Of Care

Healthcare providers are in the industry to help other people. Service is the core of any healthcare position, and this includes providing secure data management.

Violating a patient's privacy is a significant offense in the healthcare sector. It taints your company's reputation and ruins how your clients perceive your standard of care. On top of that, privacy violations can gravely damage your patients. It's for this reason that HIPAA training becomes crucial. Regardless if your employees don't intend to cause anyone harm, they might be doing it unknowingly. As much as your healthcare providers want to help patients, they might not be able to do so without proper HIPAA training. 

HIPAA offers secure access to private information by implementing verification codes, complicated passwords, and stricter rules on workers' downloads from the company server. 

4. Strengthen Patient Trust

Securing your patients' trust is by far one of the most critical aspects of healthcare practices. Any instance that violates patient trust can disrupt your company's future and put your customer relationships at risk. As clients put their entire health and welfare under your supervision, trust is the most critical value in your relationships with them. Patients trust you with their physical health, their privacy, as well as the security of their data. If data breaches occur like what happened to Yahoo, you could be facing long-term consequences, as mentioned above. 

HIPAA fortifies patients' trust towards healthcare practitioners by providing an additional layer of transparency in electronic healthcare information. Moreover, compliance with HIPAA can be seen as a sign that you care about your patients more than anything else. This helps build that level of trust, which many patients are looking for in a healthcare provider.

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By undergoing HIPAA training, you and your employees will become knowledgeable about securing your patients' information. This will, then, keep your business from incurring lawsuits for noncompliance, and help you in gaining trust from your clients. As a result, your business can avoid losing thousands, if not all of your business. 

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