Healthcare organizations of all sizes must comply with the standards set forth by HIPAA. Although HIPAA mandates the same regulations for different sized healthcare organizations, the implementation of how the requirements are applied differ. HIPAA compliance for small practices is discussed below.
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HIPAA Compliance for Small Practices
When determining what HIPAA safeguards are appropriate for your organization it is important to address the following:
- Policies and Procedures. HIPAA compliance for small practices requires you to create customized policies and procedures. This ensures that the policies and procedures that you implement apply directly to the way your practice operates. To be HIPAA compliant, policies and procedures must be written and must be reviewed annually to account for any changes in business operations. Policies and procedures dictate privacy and security protocols for your organization, as well as the proper uses and disclosures of protected health information (PHI)
- Self-audits. Self-audits measure your practice’s administrative, physical, and technical safeguards against HIPAA standards. Conducting self-audits allows you to identify the gaps in your safeguards so that you may create remediation plans to bolster your safeguards.
- Notice of Privacy Practices. A Notice of Privacy Practices (NPP) is a written notice that covered entities are required to provide to their patients. The Notice provides patients with information regarding how their PHI will be used and disclosed by the covered entity. It also dictates the patient’s rights in regards to their PHI.
- Business Associate Agreements. Business associate agreements (BAAs) are legally binding contracts signed between a covered entity and their business associates. A business associate is any entity that creates, maintains, stores, receives, or transmits on your behalf. A BAA mandates the protections that the business associate must have in place before PHI can be shared with them.
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