Healthcare Technology Featured Article

February 24, 2022

What Are the Most Important Elements of HIPAA?

It is important for everyone to make sure that their confidential information is protected. This includes the medical field. Even though people think mostly about doctors and nurses regarding the safety of medical records, there are lots of ancillary personnel who come into contact with patient records on a daily basis. Therefore, companies need to make sure they do everything they can to ensure they remain in compliance with HIPAA. What are some of the most common HIPAA compliance violations that companies and hospitals might commit? Take a look at a few key points below, and consider reaching out to a professional who can help you with HIPAA compliance issues.

1. Not Keeping Patient Records Secure

Of course, one of the most common reasons why hospitals might be found in violation of HIPAA is that they do not keep their patient records secure. For example, if someone walks away from a computer and patient records are up on the screen, then they might be found in violation of HIPAA if they are caught. While this is one of the most common issues, there are other issues related to record security as well. For example, if doctors need to send patient records to someone else, they might simply attach the records to an email, but if the email is not secure, then this could be considered a HIPAA violation. It is critical for everyone to make sure they secure patient records on the computer and if they need to send them to someone else.

2. Falling Victim To Hacking

Unfortunately, there are a lot of criminals who are looking to hack into hospitals to steal confidential patient information. While these individuals certainly need to be held accountable, hospitals need to take steps to protect their confidential information as well. As an example, hospitals are commonly targeted by criminals looking to hit them with a ransomware attack. This could threaten the lives of patients in addition to placing their confidential information at risk. Hospitals might even want to reach out to ethical hackers to see if they can test the defenses of the hospital system from time to time to make sure they have the right defensive measures in place. If hospitals are hit by a hack, they could be fined by the government for not having the right protective measures.

3. The Theft of Critical Devices

Finally, hospitals might also be hit with a major theft of one of their servers or computer systems. There are still physical security measures that fall under HIPAA. This doesn't necessarily even need to be a large device. For example, there are some situations where doctors might have confidential information on a USB drive. If the USB drive is stolen, then that confidential patient information has gone missing with it. This could be seen as a HIPAA violation, and the hospital could be fined. Hospitals need to take steps to make sure their devices are secured physically as well.

Avoid These Major HIPAA Compliance Issues

In the end, these are just a few of the many issues that could lead to HIPAA compliance problems. While many companies believe that they already do enough to ensure they are in compliance with all HIPAA rules and regulations, this is not the case. Hospitals, practices, and other companies that deal with medical records regularly need to make sure they are proactive about their medical record safety. If you need help finding a way to strategize your HIPAA compliance, you need to reach out to a professional who can help you. 

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