5 Tips to Prepare for HIPAA Audit

Author: John Garner
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) has set a number of guidelines that should be adhered to by anyone handling any kind of electronic or medical data. These guidelines specifies that every medical practice must guarantee basic steps while accessing and sharing any electronic medical data in order to maintain patient data security. Noncompliance to the HIPAA security standards can result in large fines and in worst cases loss of medical licenses. There are several steps that must be followed by any medical practitioner in the wake of a HIPAA Audit.
1. Keep updated
The health care industry legal requirements keep changing. Keep yourself updated on the latest developments and the deadline to apply the new rules. Keep updating all your agreements with vendors and outside business partners. HIPAA requires that every health organizations acquire some form of guarantee that their business partners will also make privacy and security a top priority. The best method to achieve this is through Business Associate Agreements (BAA). It also helps to ascertain that theassociates realize the HIPAA regulations themselves, including amendments to the BAA that come from the final omnibus rule.
2. Have a Compliance plan
This plan mustact as a guide to your practice and your employees practice on HIPAA, what is the HIPAA requirement, and how they should act to protect the practice from possible liability under HIPAA. This plan must also appoint a Privacy Officer and Security Officer for HIPAA, who can explain what could happen in the case of a breach of privacy. A compliance plan can help in two ways: it can help prevent HIPAA violations and it can help in continuing the practice efficiently.
3. Train your practice staff on HIPAA Compliance
Conduct annual training to all the staff on the HIPAA updates for better enforcement of security and privacy. It is important that all the employees in an organization consider these policies with utmost seriousness.
4. Hold mock audits
Mock audits could be conducted by readying all the policies and procedures in the way that you want to present it to the auditor. Train your privacy and security staff so that they understand their duties and responsibilities well.
5. Encrypting your data
Data encryption is essential in any organization be it small or big. It could be a tricky area in security because what needs to be encrypted always is a big concern. The data that requires to be encrypted includes clinical and lab data, invoice information, emails between patients and doctor and business agreements.

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