How to become HIPAA compliant is a common concern for those in the healthcare sector. However, the HIPAA law is worded in a way that most medical professionals find difficult to understand, and it lacks precise instructions on how to become HIPAA compliant.
Exploring HIPAA Certification
One of the essential elements of achieving HIPAA compliance in 2023 is having a HIPAA certification. This certification proves that a business complies with the strict guidelines and laws set by HIPAA regulations. HIPAA certification is a strong indication of a company’s commitment to patient privacy and data protection, even if it is not required by law.
What is Required to Comply with HIPAA?
The Office of Inspector General (OIG) at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has published crucial instructions for developing a HIPAA compliance program. The Seven Fundamental Elements of an Effective Compliance Program is the name of the guidelines.
All effective compliance plans must meet the Seven Elements in order to follow the HHS Office for Civil Rights’ (OCR) rigorous HIPAA enforcement strategies.
- Putting into practice stated standards of conduct, regulations, and procedures.
- Establishing a committee and compliance officer.
- Conducting efficient education and training.
- Establishing efficient channels of communication.
- Carrying out internal audits and monitoring.
- Enforcing standards via widely known disciplinary policies.
- Taking immediate corrective action after discovering infractions.
National standards for healthcare information are established by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA), which is used by covered entities and business partners.
Protected health information (PHI) refers to medical data covered by HIPAA. Any demographic data that can be used to identify a patient is considered PHI. The following are examples of PHI: a patient’s name, address, Social Security Number, insurance ID number, medical history, full-face photograph, and others. Click here for a complete list of what constitutes PHI.
Since 1996, more regulatory requirements and a number of Rules have been added to the HIPAA regulations. You can refer to the following HIPAA overview to comprehend some of the key rule modifications that have an impact on covered entities and related businesses in the healthcare sector:
HIPAA Privacy Rule
The use and disclosure of PHI is governed by the HIPAA Privacy Rule. Physicians are not included as covered entities for the purposes of the Privacy Rule.
HIPAA Security Rule
HIPAA Security Rule ensures the confidentiality, availability, and integrity of PHI, including electronic data, for both covered firms and business associates.
HIPAA Omnibus Rule mandates compliance for business associates and Business Associate Agreements (BAAs), requiring companies sharing PHI to adhere to standards.
HIPAA Breach Notification Rule
The reporting procedure for breaches impacting less than 500 people and more than 500 people is outlined in the HIPAA Breach Notification Rule. Meaningful breaches must be notified within 60 days, whilst minor breaches must be reported within 60 days. Additionally, affected patients must be informed.
Who Needs to be HIPAA-Compliant?
There are two categories of healthcare institutions that are required to comply with HIPAA legislation. Which are:
Healthcare organizations, insurance companies, and clearinghouses.
Organizations or vendors hired by a covered entity who come into contact with PHI while performing work for which they have been compensated. Billing firms, practice management organizations, shredding services, IT service providers, MSPs, email encryption services, and cloud or physical storage providers are typical examples.