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6 Tips for HIPAA Training Online

In 2018, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) fined Anthem, Inc. for violating HIPAAThe penalty was $16 million.

HIPAA is the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. This law protects patients' right to privacy and access to health information.

All healthcare organizations that work with protected health information (PHI) must comply with HIPAA—including insurance companies, clinical trial sites, and data brokers. Organizations that don't comply face hefty fines.

HIPAA training makes compliance easier. If your organization encourages HIPAA and Privacy Act training and certification—or, if you want to train independently to meet continuing education requirements—online courses are a great option.

That said, online HIPAA training isn't intuitive for everyone. Read on for six tips to get the most out of your online class.

1. Find a Good Study Space

First, find a good study space. You may want to find a quiet environment, without distractions. If you're in a noisy area, consider using earplugs or noise-canceling headphones.

Choose a study space with a good internet connection. Public libraries and universities are known for having strong, free Wi-Fi.

Bring study materials that can keep you engaged. This may be a notebook and pens or a highlighter.

If you tend to procrastinate online, use an app that lets you block distractions. Anti-procrastination apps and plugins keep you from logging onto distracting sites when you intend to study. Studies show they're effective interventions.

2. Validate With Primary Sources

One of the best strategies when taking HIPAA compliance training online is to check all the information. This lets you verify its accuracy and see more content for what you're learning.

Fortunately, the HHS posts free resources online. Anyone can explore its Training and Resources page online. The HHS also offers the full text of each rule and summaries on

3. Break HIPAA Training Into Discrete Subjects

HIPAA is a comprehensive law, and it can feel overwhelming to try to learn all about it at once. To tackle the task of comprehending it, break it into parts, then study one part at a time.

Fortunately, the law itself is divided into subsections that outline different categories of patient rights. It's a wise idea to use these natural subsections as a starting point.

Then, you might add study topics based on the HHS' recommendations for organizations developing a compliance program. These recommendations are a useful list of ways you might apply HIPAA knowledge. Applications include:

  • Creating written policies and standards of conduct
  • Training and educating others on compliance
  • Assessing non-compliance risks
  • Assessing security breach risks
  • Monitoring and auditing compliance conduct
  • Detecting and responding to non-standard or non-compliant actions
  • Enforcing compliance

With those applications in mind, you can focus part of your study on how you might use what you're learning.


Patient's Right to Privacy under HIPAA is the most well-known of the HIPAA rules. Dedicate time to studying the privacy rule specifically.

Learn what constitutes private health information, how to protect or anonymize the information, and how to navigate situations where patients' rights intersect with others (like journalists' First Amendment rights).


Protecting patients' PHI requires effective cybersecurity measures. HIPAA outlines the security standards organizations must meet to comply with the law.

Security breaches are the most common reason the HHS penalizes or fines healthcare organizations. Learn about common types of breaches and how to prevent them.

Breach Notification

HIPAA's Breach Notification Rule is the third of the three major HIPAA rules. Set aside time to study breach notification compliance specifically.

HIPAA describes:

  • Who to notify in the event of a security breach
  • How soon notification must happen
  • How to notify

As you study the breach notification rule, consider how to write policies or codes of conduct to comply with it.

Risk Analysis

Risk analysis is a complex practice. Study techniques and strategies to assess your organization's risk of non-compliance or security breaches. This is one of the most critical applications of HIPAA knowledge.

Compliance Plan Development

Learn how to develop a compliance plan. Dedicate time to practicing how you would incorporate each new piece of information you learn into your plan.

Consider examining other organizations' compliance plan templates or strategies.

4. Use the Feynman Technique

The Feynman Technique is a great way to build a strong mental model of information. As you study, it's important to develop a strong, foundational understanding of the HIPAA law itself.

Then, you can build compliance plan development knowledge on top of that. This lets you weave what you know about your organization into an accurate model.

The Feynman Technique is a method of self-testing. After you learn about a concept, stop and try to explain it. Explain it in your own words, with simple language, without referencing the study material.

If you get stuck, ask yourself what you're confused about. Then, research that specific aspect of HIPAA (or, some element of context) in more detail. Once you've done the research, try to explain again.

This repeated act of explaining strengthens your mental model of the information. It facilitates a thorough understanding that you can reference later, rather than memorizing.

5. Learn Through Multiple Mediums

People learn best in different ways. When taking a HIPAA online training course, try to access information in multiple formats. This can reinforce information and make it more memorable.

Online courses may offer information in written, video, audio, or interactive formats. If only one format is available, try to reinforce the information by taking notes or drawing diagrams.

Use whichever tools you need to comprehend the information. It's ok to use subtitles or pause a video to better understand a lesson.

6. Earn Credit and Certification

Meeting all HIPAA training requirements to complete a course may count as a continuing education credit. Look for a training option that lets you earn credit or certification.

You can put credit on a resume, which may well benefit you for the rest of your career. Earning credit can also give you a little extra boost of motivation. Let that tangible reward push you to study rather than procrastinate.

Online HIPAA Compliance Training: Effective, Streamlined, Smart

Passing your online HIPAA training can be easy. You just need the right course. Compliance Training Online offers top-tier training options that meet federal requirements. Choose between group or individual online training options.

For more information on Compliance Training Online's HIPAA courses, explore the HIPAA course home page.



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