FAQ: Assessing Access and Accountability With Electronic Health Records (EHR)

HIPAA is a crucial piece of healthcare legislation requiring careful healthcare policy management to remain in compliance. The law’s privacy rule requires that a covered entity make an effort to ensure the safe usage and security of personal health information (PHI) throughout the organization. Failure to make a reasonable effort can land a healthcare provider with severe fines and penalties unless they keep records to the contrary.

Here are a few of the critical things that the HIPAA Privacy Rule requires a healthcare provider to make an effort towards:

Appoint Someone to Manage Privacy

To protect PHI from misuse, it’s a healthcare provider’s duty to appoint someone to serve as Chief Privacy Officer (CPO) or Chief Security Officer (CSO) of the practice.

In many cases, a physician is appointed to serve as the CPO or CSO, but it’s not uncommon for senior administrative staff to serve in this capacity. Regardless of who serves as the CPO or CSO, it’s essential for the individual to oversee the daily security and privacy procedures. To ensure that the PMI that gets processed is not compromised through constant changes in the data management procedure, it’s vital that a higher authority does not overrule the CPO or CSO

Ensure Proper Access to PHI

HIPAA’s Privacy Rule does allow for some PHI to be shared within the healthcare provider’s departments, but it’s the responsibility of the healthcare provider to ensure all employees are appropriately trained in managing it. Only qualified personnel are allowed to access PHI, and procedures should be in place to prevent those who aren’t qualified from accessing the information without prior authorization.

Establish a Regular Audit Process

Apart from having an appointed CPO or CSO, healthcare providers must ensure that security processes are regularly checked for quality and potential errors. Part of this process includes auditing records of information system activity and doing a thorough assessment of current security protocols that identify possible vulnerabilities for patient PMI. These assessments should always include evaluating the EHR system since that presents one of the easiest ways for information to be compromised.

To find out more about EHR systems’ role in maintaining compliance with HIPPA’s Privacy Rule, or get information about accreditation management software, contact the MedTrainer team today!