A completely trained and compliant employee is beneficial to HIPAA-covered entities. HIPAA training is required by the Privacy and Security Regulations. Based on the Privacy Rule, Covered Entities need to train employees on the HIPAA-associated guidelines and procedures appropriate to their functions. Although based on the Security Rule, Covered Entities as well as Business Associates should have a security awareness and training plan for all employees – including those without any ePHI access.
Here are 5 reasons concerning the importance of HIPAA training:
1. Minimize the Danger of HIPAA Violations
The objective of training employees on HIPAA-related policies and security awareness is to help them do their assignments compliantly and steer clear of making errors that could lead to privacy violations. The most critical reason for training is to make sure to keep the privacy of protected health information secure and stop HIPAA violations.
2. Show a Good Faith Effort
At times, in spite of a company´s best efforts, employees may break the HIPAA Policies. All violations need to be reported to the HHS´ Office for Civil Rights (OCR) and OCR may decide to investigate. In case an investigation is started, a HIPAA-covered entity should show its good faith effort to attain HIPAA compliance. Offering proof that training was given to the employees will show that this was a singled-out incident, which can result in the prevention of sanctions and fines.
3. Give an Effective Workplace Framework
Through effective HIPAA training, employees learn what needs to be done to be HIPAA compliant and why a particular action is necessary with regard to protected health information (PHI). This gives an effective workplace structure wherein time-wasting because of insufficient knowledge is lessened. Effectively, the price of HIPAA training pays for itself through increased productivity, better patient care, and Medicare star ratings.
4. Tougher Defense Against Cyberattacks
HIPAA training is necessary since all employees must know HIPAA compliance. Security awareness training is necessary because employees are taught the security guidelines to avoid the compromise of PHI and to make it more difficult for malicious actors to get patient information. The security awareness training specifications of HIPAA help to strengthen a company’s security posture and avoid data breaches.
5. Stimulate the Patient’s Openness
Research indicates that whenever patients rely on their medical providers to protect their personal data, they become more open regarding their symptoms and express health issues with their healthcare companies. The patients’ openness helps healthcare professionals in making appropriate diagnoses and better-educated treatment decisions leading to better patient results. One of the best means of protecting patient privacy is HIPAA compliance and making sure to provide employees with regular training.
OCR manages a publicly accessible breach portal that records all data breaches involving 500 and up records that OCR investigated. The records include cases that were closed, such as settlements with a financial penalty, technical assistance or corrective action plan. More or less 33% of the settled cases required the provider to conduct more training or increase the number of active security awareness training.
This indicates that a lot of companies are not taking HIPAA and security awareness training seriously. Although having HIPAA and security awareness training is not an assurance that no violations will happen, having an effective training program can help minimize the sanctions enforced by OCR. In certain instances, this can considerably decrease the indirect costs connected with changing guidelines and procedures, giving training on the changes, and the business interruption this will bring about.
Additionally, HIPAA training can aid in the development of an effective workplace structure, create tougher cyber protection, and promote patient openness that leads to better patient results. Covered Entities and Business Associates that are uncertain about any possible gaps in their training plans ought to seek expert compliance guidance.