Are Your Employees Breaching HIPAA Without Knowing It?

Did you know that more than two-thirds of all HIPAA breaches are caused by employees?

In fact, most employee-driven data breaches are the result of human error, not intentional misuse. Are your employees prepared to properly handle protected health information (PHI)?

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Employees may not even know that they are accessing PHI. They may not understand that their jobs do not require them to open files that contain PHI. These missteps can have huge implications for your practice.

Under HIPAA, it does not lessen the breach’s severity that it was due to an accident or a mistake; exposed PHI is still exposed PHI. You will still face the reporting and penalty provisions of the law.

So, how do you know if your employees are inappropriately accessing patient records?

Start by performing frequent internal audits of your practice’s patient records and of your employees.

Train your employees on what they can and cannot access. You are responsible for your employees. Make sure your employees know that HIPAA violations are serious and that the consequences are too.

Establish and update your HIPAA compliance plan to include sanctions and procedures for employees who inappropriately access or use PHI. Craft your policies so that they clearly communicate your employees’ responsibilities when handling PHI and the consequences for misuse.

Enforce your HIPAA policies and procedures. Employees are more likely to ignore rules that do not have real consequences. Don’t let even the smallest policy violations slip through the cracks.

We can help you create an effective HIPAA Compliance Plan and craft custom training programs to ensure that your employees understand their obligations and responsibilities under your HIPAA policies and procedures.

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P.S. If you or your patients are interested in consumer healthcare issues, check out myhealthspin.com.

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