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By Greg Garner
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) was intricately designed to provide not only a more efficient health care system but also as a protection for private patient information and data. With the widespread use of technology and computers in hospitals, the availability of patient information, their health portfolio, and their previous care has greatly improved the efficiency of health care. However, this also means that there is greater leeway for that information to be lost and/or shared without patients consent.
Maintaining complete compliance with HIPAA policies and sub policies is difficult, but with a training course for all employees, this is a very possible reality. If a HIPAA violation does occur, the consequences range from minimal to serious, possibly involving thousands of dollars in fines and even jail time. A HIPAA training course will educate employers and their respective employees about how to prevent such violations from ever occurring. If you don’t think that it can apply in your workplace you may need to reconsider. Below are some very common HIPAA violations that can put your workplace into peril.
— Oral privacy is one of the provisions stated by HIPAA that can be very demanding thing to accomplish, especially in cases of overly chatty receptionists and any ignorant staff who have access to patient information. When someone is not educated in this matter they may think nothing of mentioning a patients name or gossiping about a patient if front of other people. If someone simply talks to another person about patient information that is not directly related to their jobs, then they are in violation of HIPAA regulations and could be susceptible to fines, jail time, or even revocation of medical licenses. However, in most cases if it occurs accidently, then the fine ranges from $100-$1000 per violation.
— In addition to oral privacy, in cases where patient information has to be trafficked over email, then both parties must ensure that proper safeguards are already in place to protect that information from third parties. It is fairly common to have this sort of violation, but with an HIPAA training course certain additions will be made to the workplace like information technology regulation and security. New data recovery and protection measures are being placed in health care companies nationwide, and certainly knowledge of cyber-security can prevent more unwilling violations to occur.
— When a health professional, insurance provider or any staff members who have access to patient information decides to take a look at a patient’s health portfolio and files, that employee must have a valid reason for doing so. According to HIPAA regulations, simply looking at a patient’s information for no reason is illegal and grounds for a serious violation. This is hard to implement and even harder to prove; however, it is beneficial for the workplace to be aware of such policies and to improve the standard of professional healthcare that is offered.
The provisions of HIPAA are specific and still they are easy to violate, but with an education course all healthcare personal can prevent such violations from occurring in the workplace. Knowledge of HIPAA and making changes in the workplace will not only benefit all of the employees involved but also make for a healthier, more efficient health care system.
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