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Keeping up with ever-changing regulations can be exhausting without the help of an expert. For that reason, HIPAA privacy officers exist. They’re like the king’s advisor for hospitals and healthcare organizations when it comes to staying HIPAA compliant. And—given how important it is to protect confidential health information—the duties of an officer are critical to facility operations. Here’s an overview of HIPAA privacy officer requirements and the ways they help their organization adhere to legal regulations.

What Are HIPAA Privacy Officer Requirements and Duties?

If you’re familiar with HIPAA and its goals, then the duties of a HIPAA compliance officer are relatively straightforward—they’re in charge of maintaining an organization’s adherence to HIPAA in every way possible. From monitoring the everyday operations of the facility to managing the programs and systems that support HIPAA, everything an officer does is dedicated to maintaining compliance. Without their hard work, healthcare organizations would have a harder time staying in line with HIPAA. 

So, What Are HIPAA Privacy Officer Responsibilities?

Communicate Changes

HIPAA regulations aren’t set in stone. The federal and state laws involving HIPAA and patients’ rights can change over time, and it’s up to the officers to stay up-to-date so their facility can remain compliant. By regularly monitoring legal changes, they’ll be able to make adjustments to their organization’s HIPAA programs, so there aren’t any unexpected surprises.

Developing and Implementing Training

In addition to reporting any HIPAA changes to their facility, officers are also tasked with creating training programs and materials to teach their staff about regulations. The officer will become their organization’s go-to expert for HIPAA regulations and procedures.

Oversee Programs

Using their expertise with HIPAA laws and privacy, officers will create a compliance program for their facility to follow like a blueprint. If there is already a program in place at the organization, then the officer will continue to oversee it and make necessary changes in response to any regulation updates.

Enforce Regulations

One of the most important HIPAA privacy officer responsibilities is their enforcement and constant monitoring of the facility’s compliance. They’ll go about adhering to HIPAA by conducting risk assessments and reviewing their organization’s policies to ensure they’re up to standard. On top of that, officers will keep thorough records and documentation of notices and forms, among other useful data.

Address Faults

If there are any breaches or non-compliance complaints, the HIPAA officer is responsible for investigating them. They’ll then need to take corrective actions, such as drafting new procedures or sanctioning an employee who failed to adhere to compliance.

Inform Patients

As a wellspring of HIPAA knowledge, an officer will explain rights to patients in a way that’s easier for them to understand.

Who Is a HIPAA Compliance Officer?

Now that you’re more familiar with HIPAA privacy officer requirements and tasks, you’re probably wondering—who are they? A privacy officer could be an existing employee or someone outsourced who is already familiar with HIPAA. Some organizations consider outsourcing a good idea when employees are already busy with their current roles.

However, in big organizations, the duties of a compliance officer may be too much for one person alone. In such circumstances, HIPAA responsibilities can be divided up among multiple people.

Only those who have the right experience are fit to become officers. The HIPAA privacy officer requirements can vary based on the organization, with some requiring a four-year degree in a healthcare field or a bachelor’s degree in human resources. No matter the organization, anyone who wants to become an officer must have good organizational skills, a knack for detail, and—above all—a strong understanding of HIPAA.

Medtrainer Makes HIPAA Compliance Easy

Are you looking for a way to make the responsibilities of your HIPAA compliance officer easier? Then MedTrainer has the tools you need! Our compliance reporting software is easy to use and incredibly convenient—but we have a lot more than that. MedTrainer has numerous health care programs under its umbrella of services to improve the performance of your facility, including our credentialing management software. Give us a call today to learn more and schedule a demo.