Every day, psychologists become more and more important in the world. There was already a brewing mental health crisis before the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, people everywhere are struggling with anxiety, depression, PTSD, personality disorders, and worse.
Yet, not all psychologists take their jobs as seriously as others. Some don’t even go through HIPAA compliance training, believing that the law is only meant for physicians. They couldn’t be more wrong, and they risk more than just their careers by refusing to be trained in how to comply with HIPAA guidelines.
Keep reading below to learn more about how important it is for psychologists to follow HIPPA!
Psychologists Can Have More Impact Than Other Doctors
There is no doubt that doctors play one of the most important roles in society. They are the people go to in their most desperate moments when they need help with their health. Psychologists focus on one of the most important aspects of a person’s overall health — the wellbeing of the mind.
If a person is in mental distress, they can have physical symptoms as a result. They may stop eating, causing their body to starve and weaken. Stress can cause a variety of physical ailments including sickness, or even more severe symptoms.
Psychologists wield enormous power over a person when they arrive in their office for help. And so, they need to be responsible and make sure not to harm them. And that means learning about how to protect patients’ privacy by following HIPAA guidelines.
The Mind Is the Most Important Part of the Body
Many psychologists prefer to think of a person’s mind just like any other organ. There are times when it can stop functioning correctly, and when it does it can impact their overall health. But by addressing the problem at its root, the entire body can heal.
The only difference between a psychologist and a physician is the kinds of problems they deal with. Events in a person’s life to trauma carried throughout the years are not dealt with in the same way as a blockage or an infection. It involves revealing deeply held personal thoughts.
And because treatment is so intimate in a psychologist’s office, it’s that much more important for psychologists to follow HIPAA. Accidentally revealing a patient’s personal information can be extremely harmful, causing them to wonder if they can even trust you. And if they start wondering that, treatment cannot continue.
HIPAA Applies Especially to Mental Health Services
HIPPA is designed to make sure people can trust doctors when they need help. It’s meant to make sure nobody forgoes treatment because they worry about the consequences of it. For mental health professionals, establishing trust like that is a vital part of helping people.
Psychologists are meant to connect with people so that they can process stress, trauma, and their own emotions through them. Developing that kind of relationship requires trust. Knowing HIPAA and understanding how to protect patients’ privacy helps patients know they can trust their psychologists.
In that way, HIPAA isn’t just an important federal law. It also lays the groundwork for a psychologist’s entire practice.
Violating HIPAA Can Have Devastating Consequences
Since HIPAA is so fundamental when it comes to mental health services, it’s so much more important professionals follow it. HIPAA violations can still lead to millions of dollars lost in fees and even lost licensees. But the consequences of violating it go deeper than that.
Patients will always know that you violated HIPAA at some point in your career. It will be like a shadow hanging over every session you have with someone. Because of it, you may never be able to establish trust with a patient ever again.
A HIPAA violation may not just cost you your practice, your license, or your career. It can even cost you the trust your patients have in you, and that may never be returned.
Your Clients Look Up to You, so Be Professional
Following HIPAA isn’t just important for establishing trust, but it also helps a psychologist’s overall practice. By developing an understanding of HIPAA, psychologists can appear more professional and serious about their work. It can make patients look up to them more.
When patients look up to you, they are more likely to discuss painful and traumatic events. You may appear as a protector of sorts by cultivating so much knowledge and appearing so professional. It can be comforting for patients in distress.
So in a roundabout way, HIPAA compliance can actually help you treat people by doing more than establishing trust. Some patients may see your seriousness about privacy and know you’re more than just a friend. They may see you as someone who can help them.
HIPAA Compliance Training Is Easy
The best part about learning how to comply with HIPAA laws is that it’s really easy! There are tons of resources online to help you learn more about the federal standards set in place. They can also help you understand lawmakers’ reasoning for putting them in place, helping you cultivate a deeper understanding of the law.
And if you’re the kind of person that learns better with a teacher and a chalkboard, there are classes available too. With so many ways to learn about HIPAA, you have no excuse not to stay in compliance!
Online HIPAA Training Is Available for Everyone
Psychologists can also live busy lives, struggling to carve out an hour for themselves between patient calls. That’s why there are online education options to help psychologists learn about HIPAA in a way that fits their schedules.
All you need to do is find a course that works for you and sign up for it!
Know HIPAA Like You Know the Mind
After spending years learning about the inner workings of the mind and reading tomes for classes, you shouldn’t risk losing your practice. You shouldn’t risk losing the trust patients have in you. And without HIPAA compliance training, that exactly what you’re doing.
Luckily, we can help. Just reach out to us and we will start you in a HIPAA compliance training course that works for you!