Your Guide to HIPAA Compliance

A guide to HIPAA compliance can be extremely helpful in navigating the complexities of the regulation. By using a guide to HIPAA compliance, your complex efforts are streamlined, while ensuring that you have covered every aspect of HIPAA law. A guide to HIPAA compliance is discussed in more detail below.

Your Guide to HIPAA Compliance: Achieving HIPAA Compliance

To achieve HIPAA compliance, you must implement a comprehensive compliance program.

Guide to HIPAA Compliance

Self-audits.

HIPAA requires healthcare organizations to maintain the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of protected health information (PHI). This is accomplished by implementing HIPAA safeguards. But how can you determine if your safeguards are adequately securing PHI? By completing self-audits. Self-audits measure your current HIPAA safeguards against HIPAA standards. Covered entities are required to complete six self-audits, while business associates are required to complete five.

Gap Identification and Remediation.

By completing your self-audits, gaps in your safeguards are identified. To achieve HIPAA compliance, you must address your gaps with remediation efforts. Remediation efforts bring your safeguards up to HIPAA standards, ensuring that you are adequately securing PHI. 

Policies and Procedures.

Policies and procedures dictate how your organization complies with HIPAA. Your policies and procedures must be customized for your organization so that they account for the nuances of how your business operates. For instance if a hospital was using policies and procedures meant for a small medical practice, it is likely that they would lack sufficient PHI protections.

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Employee Training.

To ensure that employees follow HIPAA standards, and your organization’s policies and procedures, they must be trained on such. Employee training should include HIPAA basics, your organization’s policies and procedures, and cybersecurity best practices.

Business Associate Agreements.

Healthcare organizations have an obligation to ensure that their business associates will protect the PHI shared with them. Business associate agreements (BAAs) must be signed before it is permitted to share PHI with a business associate. A BAA dictates the security measures the business associate is required to have in place securing PHI. It also requires each signing party to be responsible for maintaining their HIPAA compliance.

Your Guide to HIPAA Compliance: Illustrating HIPAA Compliance

It is not enough to implement a HIPAA compliance plan, your efforts must be documented. This way should you be subject to an Office for Civil Rights (OCR) audit, you will be able to prove your “good faith effort” toward compliance. 

Employee Attestation.

Employees must legally attest that they have completed their HIPAA training, and that they understand and agree to adhere to the training material. Proof of their training must be documented to ensure that all employees are trained in a timely manner.

Documentation.

Healthcare organizations must have additional documentation to prove their compliance. This includes proof of completed self-audits, written policies and procedures, and signed business associate agreements.

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