The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) is an extensive Act which encompasses a wide range of healthcare related aspects right from providing a continual cover for you to ensuring that your personal information stays private and safe even though it is handled by more than one entity. To safeguard such data it has laid down a host of regulations to be followed and has a strict compliance policy so that all the covered entities follow in line thereby reducing violations.
The following 5 points will throw more light on the compliance angle with respect to HIPAA.
* HIPAA and Compliance: HIPAA has always stressed on proper privacy and security measures to safeguard your interests. With the growing reliance of the healthcare industry on the use of Information Technology and adopting the Electronic Medical Records (EMR), the need for safety of private information has increased tremendously. Having a string of regulations and safeguards is not enough, and measures to ensure a continual compliance of the rules is a must to prevent unnecessary disclosure and unauthorized access of personal information.
* Entities Need for Compliance: With information being stored and exchanged over electronic media, HIPAA has renewed its focus on covered entities to include its owners and employees. It has gone a step further to make the entities responsible for safeguarding personal data by its business associates and sub-contractors. Not only is compliance mandatory under HIPAA, any violation is punishable with civil and criminal penalties. Thus the covered entities are making all the possible efforts to ensure proper compliance at all times.
* Training: The staff of covered entities has to handle protected Health Information (PHI) in line with the many regulations of HIPAA which are amended from time to time. At times things can get very confusing for the staff. Providing hands-on training or through relevant courses and computers will ensure that the staff has a better understanding of various compliance requirements of HIPAA and are aware of what actions constitute violation. Furthermore they will be better equipped to bring to notice any deviation and know how to rectify the situation to ensure continued compliance.
* Software: With the increased use of electronic media in healthcare the importance of software has also gone up. Nowadays covered entities can avail of HIPAA compliance specific software. Such software can be customized for use and provides a number of tools to make sure the entities are complying with all the required regulations. The software can be easily updated so that the entities always have the latest information on hand.
* Compliance Proof: HIPAA can check compliance of an entity in response to a complaint or in the normal course of audit. Thus it is important that the covered entities have all the compliance documents in order including those from its vendors, sub-contractors and associates.
HIPAA not only emphasizes on compliance but prescribes penalties in case of any kinds of violation or non-adherence to the rules. Covered entities have responded by taking several measures to ensure compliance by framing their own policies to keep their staff and equipment up-to-date.
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