One of the main healthcare organizations’ responsibilities is to protect the privacy of their patients, as well as their medical conditions. This means ensuring that all HIPAA regulations are followed at all times. Unfortunately, many healthcare organizations are not taking the necessary steps to prevent HIPAA violations. In this blog post, we will discuss some of the most common ways that healthcare organizations can violate HIPAA and how to prevent them.
What is HIPPA and what are the most common violations?
HIPAA is short for Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. This is a federal law that protects the privacy of patient health information, as well as other information that is between the patient and doctor. In addition, HIPPA requires healthcare organizations to take steps to ensure the security of patient health information. This means that healthcare organizations must take steps to prevent unauthorized access to patient health information. Some of the common violations include:
- Unauthorized access to PHI
- Lack of security controls to protect PHI
- Improper disposal of PHI
- Not being able to provide patients with access to their PHI
- Failure to follow the minimum necessary standard when accessing or disclosing PHI
How can healthcare organizations prevent HIPAA violations?
There are a number of steps that healthcare organizations can take to prevent HIPAA violations. Of course, the best way to prevent HIPAA violations is to have a comprehensive understanding of HIPAA regulations. This means that all employees who have access to PHI should be properly trained on HIPAA. This can be done through online HIPAA training, or a more traditional way. In addition, healthcare organizations should have policies and procedures in place to ensure that PHI is protected at all times. Finally, healthcare organizations should conduct regular audits to ensure that all HIPAA regulations are being followed. By taking the necessary steps, healthcare organizations can protect themselves from HIPAA violations. However, it is important to note that even with the best policies and procedures in place, violations can still occur. If a healthcare organization does experience a HIPAA violation, it should report the violation to the Office for Civil Rights.
Ensuring that all employees receive training on HIPAA
Policies and procedures are important, but they should be reviewed and updated on a regular basis. Regular audits are essential to ensure that all HIPAA regulations are being followed. If you ensure that your employees are properly trained and that your policies and procedures are up to date, you can help prevent HIPAA violations. However, accidents can happen even if you did not mean any harm0. If that is the case, you should make sure that you report the accident.
Never leave important devices unprotected or unattended in public places
This is one of the most common ways that healthcare organizations violate HIPAA. Leaving laptops, tablets, and smartphones in unlocked cars or unsecured areas can lead to PHI being accessed by unauthorized individuals. In addition, it is important to encrypt all PHI that is stored on electronic devices. By taking these simple steps, you can help prevent PHI from being accessed by unauthorized individuals.
Patient info should never be discussed through public ways of communication
This includes email, social media, and text messages. PHI should only be discussed through secure channels. By taking this simple step, you can help prevent PHI from being disclosed to unauthorized individuals. Moreover, you should never discuss PHI in public places such as elevators or cafeterias.
You should never “check” PHI simply out of curiosity
This is a violation of HIPAA. PHI should only be accessed when it is necessary for the treatment of a patient or for other legitimate business purposes. Moreover, the importance of PHI is very high, and everyone should be aware of that. Your curiosity should never be a reason to access PHI. Especially, you should never access PHI for the purpose of gossiping about a patient.
PHI should never be disposed of in the regular trash
PHI should be disposed of in a secure manner. This means shredding or destroying all paper records that contain PHI. Electronic records that contain PHI should be securely erased. These are all sensitive information and should be treated as such. Hence, there are special ways to dispose of them.
You should know when to contact the Privacy Officer
The Privacy Officer is responsible for ensuring that all HIPAA regulations are being followed. If you have any questions about HIPAA or if you witness a potential violation, you should contact the Privacy Officer. Moreover, the Privacy Officer is the best resource for questions about HIPAA and how to prevent potential violations.
Employees should receive training on HIPAA, and policies and procedures should be reviewed regularly. In addition, regular audits are essential to ensure that all HIPAA regulations are being followed. If you have any questions about HIPAA or if you witness a potential violation, you should contact the Privacy Officer. By taking these simple steps, you can help prevent PHI from being disclosed improperly.