It’s no secret that maintaining proper compliance in the healthcare industry is one of the most important obligations that businesses have in this space. But, not everybody knows everything they should about it, which could compromise the safety of patient data.
Let’s explore everything you need to know about receiving a HIPAA Certification.
What is HIPAA?
This term refers to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. It was specifically enacted to help protect sensitive data kept by those in the healthcare industry.
More specifically, the Act establishes a set of industry-wide regulations that apply to data storage, electronic billing, etc. It also affects the way that individuals maintain health insurance coverage when they either lose or change their job.
What Is HIPAA Compliance?
The term suggests, maintaining HIPAA compliance involves sufficiently meeting the standards imposed by the above Act. This is also achieved through a set of required actions and isn’t something that businesses are inherently capable to do.
For example, your firm is not automatically compliant just because you avoid certain unfavorable practices at your facility. Unfortunately, failure to adhere to these standards can result in a large number of complications for your business.
Most notably, these include fines and penalties that can be difficult for smaller companies to accommodate. Additionally, it also establishes a negative reputation for your business.
If it has been publicized that your firm consistently mismanages patient data, it’s highly likely you’ll encounter difficulty in securing future clients.
How Long Does It Take to Achieve Compliance?
The answer to this question highly depends on what type of business you are running. It also depends on a large number of other factors.
Let’s explore a few of the most notable.
The Amount of Time Each Week Dedicated to Compliance
This is one of the most important factors to consider when determining how long it will take for your company to reach compliance. In general, you want to devote at least eight hours per week to this endeavor. But, it’s not uncommon to fall short of this amount.
If you consistently devote minimal time each week or month, however, you are likely to encounter issues in the future.
The Amount of Training That Each Staff Member Received Last Year
Industry regulations and expectations are constantly changing. So, it’s imperative that your team receive the proper amount of training so that you can manage them appropriately.
It should come as no surprise that your compliance will heavily depend on how thoroughly trained your staff is. Facilities that have not conducted sufficient training within the last 12 months could be at risk of reaching industry standards.
The Development of a Proper Response Plan
Unfortunately, cybercrime is more prolific than ever before in history. In fact, the cybercrime industry will be worth over $6 trillion by the end of 2021.
To make matters worse, hackers often target healthcare facilities due to how valuable patient data is to them. All of these factors combine to create a significant amount of risk for those who have not developed a proper response plan.
This is a course of action that will be immediately implemented in the event of a data breach. More specifically, it will aim to neutralize the threat as quickly as possible while also determining the cause of the breach.
Then, this information will be used in the future to help prevent repeat scenarios.
The Accuracy of Your Last Security Risk Analysis
As previously mentioned, industry trends are always changing. This also means that new risks will begin to present themselves over time.
Methods for data protection that worked in the past may not be as effective today, for instance. A certain software could be no longer supported by a developer, criminals may have found security flaws they can take advantage of, etc.
For this reason, it’s imperative that the results of your most recent security risk analysis are still accurate.
The Size and Type of Your Organization
As you can anticipate, a larger organization will require far more effort when it comes to achieving HIPAA compliance. This is directly due to the fact that large organizations have a larger number of security vulnerabilities to accommodate.
Additionally, larger organizations typically hold a larger amount of patient data, making them a more enticing target for cybercriminals.
When it comes to the type of your organization, a hospital will have inherently more compliance obligations than a healthcare business associate would. Put simply, compliance becomes more of a factor in scenarios where a larger amount of patient data is collected and handled.
Your Company’s Work Environment
More specifically, this refers to the type of data security that is present in your work environment.
Facilities without the most contemporary software, equipment, security measures, etc. are at an increased risk of breaching compliance. Even something as simple as using an outdated operating system could cause a large number of issues in the future.
How Can I Help Expedite the Process?
Working with a professional is one of the best ways to streamline this process. Not only will they be able to provide insight into areas that need addressing, but they will also ensure that you handle them as quickly as possible.
So, it’s essential to keep this in mind when looking to achieve compliance.
It Can Seem Complicated to Achieve a HIPAA Certification
But the above information will make the process far smoother.
From here, you’ll be able to ensure that you follow all of the necessary regulations and get your HIPAA Certification as quickly as possible.
Want to learn more about what we have to offer? Feel free to reach out to us today and see how we can help.