In our ever-evolving world, it is critical that those working in a healthcare environment and dealing with sensitive healthcare information take measures to ensure they are staying updated and compliant with HIPAA regulations. With the seismic shift towards the use of mobile devices in the healthcare industry, it is more important than ever for organizations to find a solution that keeps sensitive patient data from being compromised, and their organizations from being fined.
Who it Applies to
Any individual, agency, or organization defined as a “covered entity” is required to comply with HIPAA to protect the privacy of protected healthcare information (PHI). Health care providers, health plans, and health care clearinghouses all fall within “covered entities” and it is vital that they follow the established HIPAA guidelines in order to ensure security, accessibility and confidentiality.
It is Obligatory
Despite the fact that the HIPAA privacy and security rules are referred to as addressable, they are not optional. There is no hierarchy when it comes to HIPAA regulations. All healthcare organizations must adhere to the HIPAA Security Rule, the updated HIPAA Privacy Rule, and the HIPAA Breach Notification Rule in order to be compliant and to protect patient privacy.
Breaches Incur Fines
The cost incurred implementing a secure messaging system, employee training and conducting risk assessment are minor in comparison to the fines a company could potentially have to pay in the event of a security breach. Failure to comply with HIPAA regulations can result in fines being charged and potential criminal charges and lawsuits. Fines for non-compliance may be issues regardless of whether the violation was inadvertent or not.
The Fines are Costly
The fines issued as result of being non-compliant are steep. The Catholic Health Care Services of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia (CHCS) recently reached a settlement for potential HIPAA violations caused by the theft of a device containing PHI. The CHCS acted as Business Associate to six skilled nursing facilities, according to the U.S Department of Health and Human Services. The agreed settlement involved a corrective plan and a monetary payment of $650,000.
Don’t Forget the Administrative Requirements
Once a secure solution is in place, it must be auditable. All measures executed to provide HIPAA compliance must be documented. There must also be a process in place that ensures policies and procedures are regularly reviewed. Organizations must have a framework in place to be certain that all employees are trained in HIPAA protocol, the policies and procedures.
HIPAA Compliance can be an Opportunity to Improve Efficiency
A HIPAA compliant messaging app is a simple solution that can offer many HIPAA related benefits with multi-platform functionality, multi-person conversations, and accountability features such as those offered by Lua. Lua also helps to increase organizational efficiency, with features such as read receipts, confirmation requests, and a built-in directory. Maintaining security and HIPAA compliancy should be viewed as a critical move for any organization, and as an opportunity for employers to optimize productivity and staff reliability.