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Steps to Follow in Becoming a HIPAA Compliant

The health care industry was restructured in 1996 by streamlining administrative procedures, by passing a law commonly called the HIPAA or the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, that will increase the privacy and security of the patient’s information. Not only the health care professionals in hospitals, clinics and dental practices are affected by the HIPAA requirements, other providers who have access to personal health information like call center agents, medical equipment providers and insurance staff are also directed in this regulation. There were only few penalties given to those companies, in the past many years, who do not meet HIPAA requirements as far as privacy and security in handling the patient’s data. Lately, changes have been slowly made and considerable tougher audits and bigger fines are imposed on companies that fail to pass the HIPAA legislation. So if you work in an environment where there is a requirement to know and follow HIPAA guidelines and policies, you have three ways to be on track of being compliant to HIPAA.

Your first move to satisfy HIPAA compliance is by assigning a HIPAA compliance officer. A course should be completed by this officer about HIPAA compliance and his or her job would be to maintain and enforce HIPAA requirements.

The HIPAA provisions and policies and how it impacts the company have to be made sure being understood by all staff members. It should be made available to all employees the ongoing staff training on HIPAA requirements. Depending on the level of access of a staff member to a patient’s data, the training should be made customized.
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Next is to make sure that all patient data are safeguarded. Thus, only authorized personnel should be allowed access to the information and records of a patient. Sensitive data that are inputted in the computer systems should be controlled strictly, with the computer being loaded with an updated antivirus software. Furthermore, there should be a regular back up of your electronic data.
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If you abide on the mentioned steps, the framework of meeting your HIPAA requirements should be ensured. Be reminded that the most critical part of the process is the selection of the HIPAA compliance officer and that the person receives the best HIPAA requirements training. After the officer’s training, he or she must be prepared to take on the responsibility of putting in place all the HIPAA requirements in the organization, from the training of all staff, to establishing the security and privacy procedures of patients data, and to making sure that there is security in your computer systems. For your company to be HIPAA compliant, remember to follow the mentioned steps.