Keeping up with the ever changing demands of the world can be a full time job. When it comes to keeping up with ever changing laws and the guidelines that govern them, it can be an overwhelming task. The guidelines set forth by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) are designed to protect vital and private patient information. The guidelines are strict and do a great job at keeping material as private as needed, but because of these strict guidelines, it can be difficult for the healthcare provider to keep up with demands.
To avoid HIPAA fines, the possibility of legal action, or loss of medical licensing, it is important to stay current with the ever changing guidelines set forth by HIPAA laws and Medicare. More and more practices are coming under fire, as the government employs more people assigned with the task of enforcing these regulations. To ensure you are not one of the many practices with violations, HIPPOmsg offers the following tips to establishing and maintaining HIPAA compliance:
- ASSIGN THE TASK: Keeping up with HIPAA guidelines can be a full time job. Assigning a person, or group of people, to be the front line in your HIPAA compliance is the first step in avoiding potential violations. If you are a larger practice, hiring people specifically for this purpose can only help you in the long run. Tasking one or more people to become proficient in HIPAA regulations will ensure that your practice meets the strict guidelines.
- SCHEDULED MAINTENANCE: Make reviewing your HIPAA manual a regular occurrence. With the hectic schedules medical professionals often keep, this can easily be overlooked until it is too late. Making sure your documentation is up to date and reviewing HIPAA laws regularly will ensure that nothing slips by, leaving you open to legal action.
- DOCUMENTATION IS KEY: Make sure any steps you take toward compliance are documented and kept with your HIPAA manual. If it is not written down, it might as well not exist. When fines and penalties are handed out, you do not want to find yourself in a situation where all you have is your word to go on. In the case of a dispute, documentation can save you money in the long run.
- KEEP TECHNOLOGY UPDATED: With the majority of information storage being done on computers, it is important to make sure all your encoding, and protection software and hardware, is up to date and protecting your information to the best of its ability. Using HIPPOmsg is one way you can get a head start on this!
Achieving and maintaining complete HIPAA compliance is a very big task, but these simple steps can help put you on the right path. If the demands are too much for your practice, seek out help. With the penalties for violations being so substantial, you really can’t afford to not have your affairs in order.
To make the most of your mobile technologies, try HIPPOmsg. The ability to safely use your smartphone or tablet, to convey information instantly can improve efficiency and save time and money. It is a free service, created by doctors for healthcare professionals.
Once you’ve achieved HIPAA compliance, you will breathe easy and focus on what is really important, providing the best possible care to the patients you serve.