5 Steps to Avoid HIPAA Fines
Healthcare providers face the constant fear of falling behind on HIPAA compliance and facing punishments and fines from the federal government. So, what is the best and most cost effective way to make sure things get done when it comes to HIPAA compliance?
HIPAA Fines Are Serious, But Compliance is Mamangeable If Done Right
Individual providers in 2017 can be fined up to 1.5 million dollars for HIPAA violations. The steep fines for lax HIPAA compliance combined with the ethical implications of HIPAA violations are enough to encourage every healthcare provider to keep their HIPAA compliance current.
How To Make HIPAA Compliance a Breeze
Without a doubt, with such a complex list of requirements, maintaining up-to-date HIPAA compliance can be a difficult task but not impossible. To stop yourself from losing sight of crucial steps in the process, make sure that you always have the big-picture in mind. Here are the 6 big-picture processes that will make sure your HIPAA compliance is always up-to-date.
1. Perform Regular Audits
Make sure that you conduct regular audits of your facility and systems so that you know that processes are still running smoothly and nothing is falling through the cracks. HIPAA requires that you have administrative, physical, and technical safeguards in place at all times, so it is best practice to audit these safeguards regularly.
Remember the old adage that the best audits are ones that reveal issues. An audit that catches flaws or lapses in your system is the best kind of audit, since it has proved itself thorough enough to save you time and money in the future. An audit that exposes no areas of improvement is simply not helpful in the long run, so do not be lax in this step of the process.
Use checklists to make sure nothing is forgotten.
2. Fix What You Find
Have plans in place to address any flaws that are exposed during your regular audits. Clear documentation is crucial during this phase, and will be useful in case you are ever externally audited for HIPAA compliance. Make sure that you are careful to address every issue that is revealed in your audit. Again, use checklists to make sure all issues are properly and timely addressed.
Intensely Audit Your Processes and Make Sure to Fix What You Find
3. Clarify with Trainings and Procedures
Ensure that every staff member knows their part in HIPAA compliance by laying out a set of clear procedures that staff must regularly follow. These procedures, like performing personal audits or maintaining clear records, can be taught in a series of trainings. Being clear from the start that staff is required to play a part in HIPAA compliance and laying out ways in which they are expected to help will make it infinitely less likely that your team will ever face a HIPAA violation.
Again, checklists will play a key role in making sure things get done as expected and on time. Using an accountability platform like CommandHound which tracks individual performance in completing HIPAA compliance tasks can only help.
4. Keep Records of Trainings and Employee Duties
Keep records of everything, but especially of the steps that employees are required to take regarding HIPAA compliance. Every time an employee completes a training or performs a regular duty related to HIPAA compliance, make note. These records can be used in case of an external audit to prove that all staff members are up-to-date on their responsibilities. CommandHound also makes this recordkeeping an integral part of its task management capabilities.
5. Culture Change
The easiest way to ensure that your HIPAA compliance plan has no gaps or weaknesses is to emphasize a culture of accountability. If each individual member of your team holds themselves and their teammates accountable for their duties, no HIPAA compliance task will fall through the cracks. A platform like CommandHound that has been built from the ground up with this in mind can help build a culture of accountability while simultaneously monitoring your team’s HIPAA task completion.
Get HIPPA Compliance Under Control
Read the guide in the link above, and then sign up for an account of your own to explore how a culture of accountability through the power of checklists will help build the foundation your organization needs to never face HIPAA violation fines.