Behind every medical institution, there is a set of strict regulations that must be upheld to protect your personal health information.
But when the owners of such clinics are not aware of their own compliance, they place themselves and their employees under the risk of penalty. Not to mention, the victimization of their patients.
In this article, we will examine what are HIPAA violations, so that you can better acknowledge the values and regulations outlined in HIPAA law.
So if you’d like to learn about the most common violations, keep reading.
Tiered Penalty System
First and foremost, we must announce that not only do HIPAA violations risk personal health information access. But also lead to serious civil and criminal penalties.
The penalties for violating regulations of HIPAA arise from a tier system. Which varies based on the amount and type of negligence involved.
These fines range from a simple hundred dollar bill to $50000 for a single violation. These violations can easily be stacked, and cannot exceed a mere $1.5 million in total per year.
For medical facilities, this is a considerable amount of money that can deplete the necessary resources for operating costs and provisioning of medical services to needy patients. In some cases, individuals will be held responsible not only financially, but also with imprisonment.
What Are HIPAA Violations?
As much as we would love to elaborate upon each of the violations in the law, it would simply be inefficient to do so. Not only because of the lack of space but also the lack of comprehension that is necessary to understand the law.
That’s why we have chosen the five most common violations of HIPAA law. So that you can bring a general sense of understanding to the merits of the violation clauses.
Unsecured Patient Information
Patient information consists of various identifiable protected data under HIPAA law. And it must be carefully encrypted and safeguarded when stored electronically.
The failure to do so is the most common of HIPAA violation mistakes. Whether patient records are physical or electronic, staff must be aware of how they are being transacted at all times.
Leaving patient information unattended leaves it to be exposed for unauthorized use from anyone nearby. HIPAA requires all records to be kept in secure locations, not accessible to family, unapproved staff, or any other passerby.
It’s important to train staff on how to secure files and secure digital copies. Electronic personal health information is easily accessed by criminals. Especially, if it is not encrypted and accessed on various devices.
Since healthcare staff regularly discusses and handles identifiable information, misuse of it is another common cause of PHI (personal health information) breach. Whether it happens intentionally or unintentionally, they must be aware of the risk.
Improper disclosure of information can breach the laws of HIPAA and lead to a conviction. There are many advantages to social media in medicine, but there are risks as well. All employees with access to PHI must subject to training and briefing on their actions.
Employee training is critical to preventing improper usage of PHI. From their initial fire and regular maintenance, healthcare staff must be carefully taught on safeguards and procedures to protect PHI from potential risks. Your staff must also learn about HIPAA compliant online fax.
Not only is employee training great for HIPAA, but it is also required for HIPAA compliance.
Inadequate Depletion of Personal Health Information
In addition to sharing and storing PHI in a secure manner, healthcare facilities must properly deplete themselves of unnecessary PHI. Whether it was kept in electronic or physical form, the data must be destroyed permanently so that it is not vulnerable.
To comply with HIPAA rules, physical copies of PHI must be shredded and burnt. Disposing of electronic data requires full data wipes and even physical destruction of hard drives.
It is best to set up clear standards for information disposal. So that’s it’s guaranteed that information is inaccessible when no longer necessary.
A Lack of Risk Analysis
Since HIPAA is very broad, it requires a great understanding to uphold full compliance. And healthcare facilities must conduct a regular risk analysis. The risk analysis must reveal current weaknesses in the organization’s method of protecting PHI. As well as sharing, and handling PHI.
Once vulnerabilities have been determined, organizations can begin to improve their companies and guaranteed the protection of information in the future.
As technology progressed, there are bound to be changed to HIPAA, so changes in the organization must be followed as well. Conducting regular assessments will ensure that healthcare providers can implement new changes when necessary.
Theft or Loss of Company Technology
A very common cause of violation is theft or loss of company technology that has PHI. Employees that have access to PHI to perform their work must be careful when securing their tech.
It is not possible to always prevent technology from thievery. But it is entirely possible to safeguard and encrypt information on the device. This ensures that even theft and loss does not open up the gateway to illicit information usage.
Now that you uncovered what are HIPAA violations, you can finally begin your journey to full compliance. It takes time and lots of dedication, but with a set mind and an effective team, you should be able to achieve it in no time.
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