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HIPAA Training: Is It Necessary?

Did you know that there were over 30 HIPAA data breaches in November? Today's day and age have transitioned almost solely to the use of technology. Electronic health records and telecommunication have made data breaches a more significant problem for HIPAA compliance.

Many employees don't have sufficient HIPAA training. Improper training puts themselves and the company at risk of fines, imprisonment, or termination. Proper training can mitigate these risks and keep patients' health information protected.

If you have an interest in learning more about HIPAA training and what it entails, then keep reading on!

What Is HIPAA?

HIPAA stands for the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. It was created in 1996 under federal law by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Ultimately, this federal law protects patients' health records and information.

Under HIPAA, a patient would have to give permission or consent to disclose any information relevant to their health.

HIPAA Privacy Rule

Most HIPAA requirements and regulations fall under the Privacy Rule. At its core, it helps protect patients' health information. HIPAA also outlines you can appropriately use protected health information (PHI) in health settings for improved efficiency.

Who falls under the Privacy Rule?

  • Healthcare providers
  • Healthcare plans (e.g., employee-sponsored, government)
  • Business associates
  • Clearinghouse

There are a few exceptions for sharing information without direct patient consent. Some of these examples are for the national or public interest.

Security Rule

The HIPAA Security Rule falls under the Privacy Rule and helps protect electronic health records. With the creation of the Privacy Rule, healthcare started to trend towards electronic health records (EHR).

The main goal of the Security Rule is the protection of a patient's EHR. It also provides improved flexibility for physicians and other health providers. The Security Rule seeks to communicate and transmit information effectively.

HIPAA Compliance

HIPAA compliance is critical to avoid fines or jail time in more severe cases. One of the more significant HIPAA breaches is looking up patient health records. While it is necessary for treating or billing a patient, it can be easy to look up patients you aren't treating.

The three reasons you can look up PHI are treatments, healthcare operations, or payments.

Accessing data of patients you are not directly treating can result in penalties, fines, or termination of your job. Additionally, if you deny patients access to their health records, it breaches the Privacy Rule.

Breaches in the database also fall under HIPAA compliance. Organizations must take appropriate action in protecting health records. Any breaches or concerns should be promptly addressed.

Often, employees do not properly dispose of PHI, resulting in compliance issues. This leads to the next point - proper and adequate HIPAA training is one of the biggest reasons HIPAA compliance issues exist.

Not only can it highlight that gossiping or discussing patient information is a HIPAA violation, but it can also help highlight areas of concern in a healthcare setting.

Acknowledgment of concerns can spearhead changes and added security for PHI and EHR.

HIPAA Training

Who can benefit from HIPAA training? Anyone who works in the healthcare industry and is dealing with sensitive patient information should participate in HIPAA training courses.

Some of the areas that an online training course will highlight are:

  • Regulations and guidelines for PHI disposal
  • PHI identifiers
  • Consequences of improper PHI disposal
  • Plans for improved HIPAA compliance

These courses are meant for physicians, medical assistants, billing, and more. It can educate employees on avoiding penalties and lawsuits. Additionally, the courses highlight areas that you might have unknowingly been non-compliant with HIPAA regulations.

The minimum time requirement is two hours to complete this course, and annual re-training is highly recommended. Additionally, online courses are beneficial because it allows employees to work on it for small chunks of time and at their own pace.

There aren't specific guidelines on what HIPAA training courses should include.

With constant changes in technology, courses are also helpful in keeping organizations and employees up-to-date on EHR. It provides the safest way of transmitting information.

Improving Work Safety

Work safety includes more than Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) training. It can also cost organizations thousands or millions of dollars.

For example, the maximum penalty is $1.5 million each year for willful negligence and failure of fixing the problem. Fraud can result in up to five years in prison and an approximately $100,000 fine.

Even minor breaches in HIPAA safety can result in a $50,000 fine. You can imagine as re-occurring HIPAA breaches occur, the penalties can quickly tally up and lead to possible jail time.

Other Safety Training

Your employees and organization can benefit from HIPAA training and other safety courses. A reliable, online training course can help you tackle all the courses your company needs.

Other healthcare courses outside of HIPAA training include:

  • Handling hazardous waste
  • Personal protective equipment (PPE)
  • Medical office hazards
  • Bloodborne pathogens

Requiring these courses online can give employees a better understanding of their unique risks in healthcare.

Find Your HIPAA Training Courses

There are many different online HIPAA training formats out there. However, you want a company that produces quality training and flexibility. Healthcare is a busy place to be right now, and it is more important than ever before that employees are adhering to HIPAA.

By signing up for courses, your employees can go at their own pace, which means better retention and long-term results. Contact us today if you have questions on what type of programs best fit your company's needs.

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