Violating HIPAA can lead to thousands of dollars in fines and penalties, and it can be devastating for a healthcare facility. It is crucial that all healthcare facilities understand what it means to be HIPAA-compliant and how to avoid potential issues. Healthcare providers will want to be careful in all areas when it comes to the private information of patients and avoid making mistakes that could lead to compliance issues or complaints. Below are a few of the things that can be done to stay compliant.
Understand How to Send Data
Faxing is still a way for healthcare facilities to send and receive data, and this often includes patient information that may be restricted under HIPAA. When information does need to be faxed, healthcare facilities should always follow best practices to prevent the data from being seen by someone who is not authorized to review it. This includes using a cover sheet, checking the number before sending, and ensuring the fax machine is in a secured facility area. They can also fax their documents online since HIPAA compliant online fax providers are available. Healthcare providers may want to read a HIPAA faxing guide before sending any faxes.
Prevent Discussing Information
Doctors and other healthcare personnel may have the need to discuss patient information over the telephone or in public, but it should be done carefully to prevent any compliance concerns. When using a phone to discuss a patient, doctors should make sure they’re speaking with the right person, whether that’s another healthcare provider or the patient themselves. They should also follow the HIPAA telephone rules to avoid making any mistakes that could lead to a compliance complaint.
Secure Against Break-Ins
Depending on the area, break-ins may be a more pressing concern. Though someone breaking in is likely after drugs or medical supplies, there is always the potential for a break-in to lead to a breach of data. It is important for healthcare facilities to protect against this as well as install a security system designed with access control in mind. This will help prevent anyone from getting into secured areas if they are not authorized to be there, which can help protect data stored at the facility.
Secure Against Cyber Attacks
Along with a physical breach, healthcare facilities should be concerned with the potential for cyber attacks that could lead to data being stolen or compromised. Today, many healthcare facilities do store their patient data online. When doing so, there is the potential for a security breach that could cause the data to be compromised, which can be a HIPAA breach. It is important to have as many safeguards as possible in place to help prevent a breach and to check for loopholes or other issues that could allow a hacker to gain access to the data.
HIPAA compliance is not something that should be taken lightly. Today’s healthcare facilities should have a variety of safeguards in place to prevent any compliance issues and should make sure they are doing as much as possible to prevent patient data from being accessible to anyone who is not authorized to view it. By taking the proper precautions, whether that’s with online data or when faxing information, healthcare facilities can ensure they are compliant and prevent a potential breach. This could help protect patients further and prevent the potential for thousands of dollars in fines for a violation.