Why Healthcare Experts Could Not Avoid HIPAA
One of the goals of HIPAA is to give a federal ground of privacy protections for personally identifiable health information kept by Covered Entities. To accomplish this goal, the Privacy and Security Rules put standards that Covered Entities should adhere to so as to secure the privacy of “Protected Health Information” (PHI). The inability to conform to the HIPAA standards may bring about large financial fines – even if no data breach happens and PHI isn’t exposed.
The majority of healthcare providers are Covered Entities and, therefore, need to enforce guidelines and procedures to adhere to the Privacy and Security Rule criteria. As workers of Covered Entities, healthcare experts should follow their company’s policies and procedures. For this reason, healthcare experts are not able to avoid HIPAA. Nevertheless, this isn’t the sole reason why HIPAA compliance is essential for healthcare experts.
The Advantages of HIPAA Compliance for Healthcare Experts
Trust is very important in a patient/healthcare specialist relationship. Patients rely on their healthcare specialists with personal information about their lives simply because they believe that healthcare specialists work to accomplish the best health results. Nevertheless, trust may be a delicate thing. If their personal details are compromised because of a HIPAA violation, patients may hold back data important to the giving of care in spite of the possible long-lasting effects on their wellness.
Healthcare experts can minimize the risk of breaking trust by following the guidelines and procedures enforced by their company to avoid HIPAA violations. If patients are assured their privacy is being protected, this encourages trust – which results in giving better care so as to realize optimal health results. Better patient results boost the morale of healthcare experts and bring about more gratifying work life.
The Professional and Individual Implications of Noncompliance
One of the guidelines a Covered Entity needs to impose is a sanctions policy for when the noncompliance of members of its staff with HIPAA guidelines and procedures. Covered Entities must implement the sanctions policy and address HIPAA violations by healthcare specialists since, when they don´t implement the sanctions policy, it’s a HIPAA violation by the Covered Entity. In addition, when the Covered Entity doesn’t act, noncompliance could turn into a cultural convention.
Getting sanctioned for a HIPAA violation has professional and individual effects on healthcare specialists. Penalties can vary from spoken warnings to the revocation of professional accreditation – which will make it hard for a healthcare specialist to acquire another work – and, when there’s a criminal conviction because of the noncompliance, it will probably be announced in the press which will have consequences for a healthcare specialist´s personal track record.
Who is Accountable for HIPAA Violations?
As stated earlier, the inability to follow HIPAA is not the healthcare specialist´s fault at all times. Though Covered Entities must give training about policies and procedures that correspond with healthcare specialists´ functions, they might not have the materials to give training on every imaginable situation a healthcare specialist may come across, or to keep track of compliance 24/7 so as to avoid the creation of cultural norms.
As a result, unintentional HIPAA violations can happen because of an absence of understanding. Nevertheless, Covered Entities are not ready to accept accountability for unintentional violations at all times because of a lack of understanding as it means they were unable to perform a complete risk evaluation, disregarded a threat to PHI privacy, and were unable to give required and proper training – or, when a cultural norm has been created, failed to keep track of compliance with guidelines and procedures.
How You Can Avert Unintentional HIPAA Violations
To steer clear of unintentional HIPAA violations and the professional and individual penalties of noncompliance – regardless if they aren’t your wrongdoing – it is best to make sure your understanding of HIPAA addresses every facet of your role and the cases you may come across. To attain this stage of information, you must use third-party HIPAA training programs that offer you an exhaustive understanding of HIPAA and its guidelines and regulations.
Accepting responsibility for your personal HIPAA knowledge – and utilizing that understanding to work in a HIPAA-compliant way – safeguards your career, enhances your job prospects, and allows you to get more from your career. Granted the choice, the majority of healthcare experts would choose to work in a setting that works compliantly to provide better patient results, in which morale is great, and wherein the healthcare specialist has a more fulfilling work encounter.