As the health care industry continues to digitize, the importance of HIPAA compliance increases. With more and more Protected Health Information (PHI) being stored electronically, the potential for a data breach grows. A HIPAA violation can result in significant fines and damage to your organization’s reputation – not to mention the distress it can cause your patients. That’s why it’s essential that your organization has strong HIPAA compliance measures in place.
What is the HIPAA?
Essentially, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) ensures the privacy of protected health information. The law was passed in 1996 and was updated in 2006 through the HITECH Act. It is a Federal Law created to protect sensitive Patient Health Information (PHI) and protect it from non-consensual disclosure.
When we say health information, this pertains to healthcare or related payments that are directly linked to an individual. These include doctors, hospitals, insurance companies, health plans, and healthcare providers bound by HIPAA rules.
Why Comply with HIPAA Rules?
Apart from the fact that violation of HIPAA laws can lead to serious legal consequences and hefty fines, there are several reasons why your organization should ensure HIPAA compliance.
1. Protecting your patients’ information and your reputation
When your organization adheres to and implements HIPAA-compliant programs, it develops a stronger and more patient-centric culture. This ensures a smoother treatment plan, a reduction of margins for risk and error, and creates an all-around safe environment for both parties.
2. Protecting yourself from lawsuits
HIPAA protects your organization against PHI-related lawsuits as long as you adhere to its guidelines. Violations can put your patients at risk and lead to long-winding and costly lawsuits that can go on for years.
3. Reduced risk of liabilities
Under Federal Law, HIPAA training is mandatory. When your employees go through HIPAA training, they reduce risks of future violations and errors and, consequently, future lawsuits.
4. Higher employee satisfaction
With HIPAA, you need to have very clear policies and procedures for your employees to follow. This leaves little room for ambiguity and job insecurity for your employees and increases client loyalty and employee retention.
5. Increased protection for virtual service providers
Since COVID-19 hit, more healthcare facilities have been rendered virtual. Telemedicine requires additional measures to ensure that patient data and other sensitive information are properly protected.
It is evident that non-compliance with HIPAA can result in significant financial penalties and damage to an organization’s reputation. In order to avoid these consequences, it is critical for all organizations to ensure compliance with HIPAA. By taking the time to develop and implement policies and procedures that comply with HIPAA, organizations can protect themselves from potential fines and negative publicity.