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Keeping Your Healthcare Practice HIPAA Compliant

Organizations that store, handle, or transmit protected health information (PHI) must comply with the Health Information Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). Is your practice HIPAA compliant? In this blog, we offer several steps for making sure your organization is compliant with HIPAA requirements.

Understand the Purpose of HIPAA

HIPAA was enacted to modernize the flow of healthcare information and to offer standards for protecting PHI. HIPAA covers healthcare providers and any organization that helps healthcare providers carry out their initiatives.

HIPAA compliance is monitored and enforced by the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Civil Rights (OCR). Penalties for lack of compliance include monetary fines and possible criminal charges.

Restrict Unauthorized Access to PHI

HIPAA covered entities and their business associates must prevent unauthorized access to PHI. As a result, patient files and other sensitive medical records should be stored in a secure, monitored area. This need can cause storage challenges for your practice.

A records storage service eases in-house storage constraints and prevents unauthorized access to medical records. Your active files are barcoded, stored on high-density racks, and protected with advanced fire protection and security technology. Files can be hand delivered to your office by a background-screened records management professional or sent digitally to your device with a Scan on Demand solution.

Implement HIPAA Compliant Shredding Procedures

The Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act was implemented as an amendment to HIPAA in 2009. It states that improperly discarded documents and data are considered a security breach. Under HITECH, if medical records are improperly disposed of and PHI is breached, the OCR can fine your organization.

A document-shredding service eliminates PHI disposal risks. Your shredding provider places locked document collection containers in your facility free of charge. The contents of the containers are regularly collected and destroyed by background-screened, HIPAA-compliance-trained shredding technicians.

Train Your Staff on HIPAA Compliance

Within it comes to HIPAA compliance, knowledge is power. According to the HHS, an average of 1,445 complaints were submitted each day during the calendar year 2018.

Your employees should understand HIPAA requirements and your practice’s policy for accessing, transmitting, and disposing of PHI. Host ongoing HIPAA training sessions to make sure your staff is on the same page.

Records Management Center provides healthcare organizations throughout Augusta, Evans, Thomson, Martinez, GA, Aiken, SC, as well as the Central Savannah River Area with full-service records management solutions.