In an era where many hospitals are understaffed, their services are needed more than ever. However, just as healthcare organizations must treat their patients with care, so too must they treat private documents with care. This extra task of confidentiality must be carried out thoroughly so no sensitive information is leaked. However, as vital as this endeavor is for client safety, it can be challenging. With the assistance of HIPAA regulations management, it is much easier for overworked employees to handle.
Digital software has become the norm in the healthcare industry, and for a good reason. With computer programs, hospitals can enhance their productivity and efficiency, which benefits their workflow and helps take the strain off of the already busy schedules of healthcare workers. Here is an overview of HIPAA compliance software advantages, from what it means and is used for to what benefits organizations receive upon its implementation.
What is the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act?
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, commonly shortened to HIPAA, is a mandatory government regulation that was passed in 1996. This federal law established national standards for protecting patient health information, also known as PHI. As criminals are able to use PHI for fraud or nefarious purposes, it is of utmost importance that patient data remains secure. With HIPAA, the US Department of Health and Human Services can ensure American hospitals properly protect their patients’ private information.
Numerous organizations must commit to HIPAA regulations management, and not all of them are strictly healthcare institutions. Entities that must adhere to HIPAA standards include:
- Every healthcare provider operating in the United States.
- Institutions that operate and pay for health plans, such as dental or drug insurers, medicare, employer-sponsored group plans, and many others.
- Healthcare clearinghouses which are tasked with processing nonstandard information into something that is standard.
- Business associates that used private patient information for purposes such as billing or data analysis.
Additionally, HIPAA was designed to assist more than just the security of healthcare patients’ private information but also the organizations providing their care. If a patient’s personal data is leaked, they may pursue a lawsuit against the healthcare institution to which they disclosed their information. However, demonstrating that an organization has HIPAA compliance proves they were following the set standards. Therefore, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act can help protect healthcare institutions from potential lawsuits.
What is the Purpose of HIPAA Compliance Software?
HIPAA compliance programs have been created throughout the years to help healthcare organizations adhere to regulations. For example, hospitals that only use standard video conferencing software are not necessarily guaranteed to be compliant with HIPAA standards. Therefore, implementing HIPAA compliance management software will help ensure that an organization is following proper protocol.
The primary purpose of HIPAA compliance software is to help protect and secure patient PHI. In a new era where telemedicine is more common because of the Coronavirus pandemic, ensuring the security of private patient information has grown more challenging. Exchanging private information in person is considerably more secure than email or text messages, as those methods can potentially leak sensitive information.
By utilizing HIPAA compliance software, healthcare organizations can conduct telemedicine remotely without the worry of security concerns. Patients can safely send their private information to their healthcare providers, as well as communicate with them using HIPAA software. As a result, both patients and the institution they receive treatment from can conduct business safely without violating any HIPAA regulations.
How HIPAA Compliance Software Benefits Staff Training
Another impact of the Covid-19 pandemic is that the growing presence of telemedicine resulted in changes to HIPAA regulations. Because of the updated standards, healthcare organizations and their employees must become up to date with the new regulations, lest they violate them by accident.
Hospital staff are able to familiarize themselves with the new HIPAA standards with training programs; however, given how some hospitals are already overworked and understaffed, it may be challenging to keep track of the training progress for every employee. With a HIPAA compliance program, employees will have access to the resources they need to undergo training and continue operating while adhering to the new regulations.
Additionally, HIPAA compliant programs can assist types of training programs. Most notably, they can further an employee’s understanding of the primary purpose of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act: maintaining the security of sensitive data. HIPAA training will teach staff members about the importance of PHI security and what the repercussions are of neglecting it. In doing so, employees will learn that taking care of their patient’s well-being is not just about their health but their privacy as well.
What are the Advantages of Utilizing Software for HIPAA Compliance?
Although adhering to the Health Insurance Portability and Accessibility Act is required by law for American healthcare organizations, incorporating HIPAA compliance software into their operations will provide numerous other benefits in the process. Here are some of the advantages that establishments experience thanks to HIPAA regulations management software:
- One of the more significant advantages of HIPAA compliance software is that it increases a patient’s trust with their healthcare organization. By demonstrating that an institution safely follows HIPAA, patients will achieve peace of mind knowing that their private medical info will not be leaked and is in safe hands.
- This increased trust fosters loyalty, as clients are more likely to stay with organizations with proven adherence to HIPAA regulations. Conversely, security breaches caused by mishandling or other such causes will decrease a patient’s loyalty, which is unlikely to occur at companies that have undergone HIPAA training.
- Because of this loyalty, hospitals are more likely to retain their patients over time rather than lose them to competitors. This, in turn, means that healthcare organizations utilizing HIPAA compliance software are unlikely to lose their customers and earn more revenue due to their PHI security efforts.
- Another financial benefit of employing HIPAA compliance programs is that organizations will not have to endure penalties for not complying with HIPAA regulations. Not adhering to standards can lead to audits, fines, and lawsuits, the cost of which can be tremendously high. By utilizing HIPAA compliance programs to ensure all regulations are met, healthcare companies will not have to worry about financial punishment.
- As per the standards outlined by the US Department of Health and Human Services, companies who must follow HIPAA regulations have to audit security standards, risk assessment, overview physical security, and perform other vital tasks every year. This endeavor is incredibly time-consuming, especially for organizations that are understaffed. With the help of HIPAA regulations management software, organizations can keep track of everything and demonstrate they’ve completed each audit, as well as benefit from the software’s self-auditing functionality.
- With the help of software, healthcare organizations are capable of assessing the risk of HIPAA non-compliance. There are a variety of features that assist with the assessment, such as calculating a score and letting companies know where they fall short. As a result, companies can use this information to address any shortcomings and establish a plan.
Commonly Asked Questions Regarding HIPAA Compliance Software
How Does HIPAA Compliance Software Protect Against PHI Loss?
Employees interact with patient health information on a daily basis, so it is crucial for them to understand how to keep it safe. With compliance programs, each employee can easily access the methodology required to keep the client’s info secure.
What Are the Advantages of Compliance Software Being Digital?
As HIPAA compliance software is entirely digital, healthcare employees can benefit from streamlined functions and efficient communications that are generally not present when handling compliance in person with paperwork. The large amount of paperwork that an employee might have to deal with is also reduced when pertinent information can be safely stored digitally.
What Is the Right to Access Initiative, and How Does It Relate to HIPAA?
This initiative was created to make healthcare institutions pay more attention to processing requests for personal medical information. As mishandling of sensitive patient information breaches HIPAA regulations, organizations that fall short of the Right to Access Initiative must face considerable fines.
In What Ways Does HIPAA Affect a Patient’s Access to Their Information?
HIPAA creates a frame of time in which requests must be fulfilled, permits organizations to develop procedures for the submissions of these requests, and lowers the patient’s cost for accessing information. These rules were created so organizations would be unable to create barriers that would prevent patients from accessing their information, as well as prohibit them from overbilling their patients.
MedTrainer’s Other Healthcare Software Products
For healthcare organizations who seek more than just HIPAA regulation management, MedTrainer has a variety of services to benefit your operations. From our credentialing platform to ensure the verification of your provider’s skills to MedTrainer courses to assist with employee training, we offer numerous benefits to help ease your workflow in tiring times. Whether it is for a community health center or rural hospital, MedTrainer’s products can make work easier for healthcare providers no matter their industry.
Contact MedTrainer today for more information regarding our valuable services!