HIPAA Compliance: Do You Comply With the HIPAA Privacy Regulations?
HIPAA compliance is required by you or
your company if you collect, disseminate or store information in any way connected with the
health of any individual. Even if you support those that do provide such services, you must
comply with HIPAA.
For example, if you electronically transmit any information related
to patients that could identify the information with the patient, or if you hold any records that
relate to patients, then HIPAA compliance is mandatory. To fail to do so could result in
prosecution under civil or criminal law.
Examples of Covered Entities
Examples of those for whom HIPAA compliance will be mandatory
under the HIPAA Privacy Regulations include:
insurers that maintain patient-related information
In short, any individual or organization that electronically
transmits health care information that can be identified to individual patients is known as what
the regulations refer to as a "Covered Entity". Even if you do not fax or email information, but
your billing company or any firm that receives such information from you does so, then your firm is
a covered entity. If you in any way have access to patient information, then you will likely have
to comply with HIPAA Privacy Regulations.
What is Involved in HIPAA Compliance?
HIPAA compliance is not something simple that you can set up yourself
overnight without expert guidance. Much of the initial HIPAA implementation work involves defining
transactions covered by the regulations, and creating standard definitions and terms that can be
used in the creation of patient's records.
HIPAA compliance will initially involve you identifying every process
that involves the handling of patient information and privacy, and then redesigning these processes
to develop an all-encompassing security program to meet the needs of the Regulations. These
processes will include:
handling, maintenance, storage and transmission
remotely connected with patients records
You will also have to set up a system for the management of the
patient information security procedures, and institute an auditing procedure for the management of
the system and HIPAA compliance. You will also have to get written agreement from your suppliers
that they will maintain a level of privacy and security equal to that of their customers. If the
refuse or fail to do so, you will have to find alternative suppliers.
Your first step will be to carry out an assessment known as a 'gap'
assessment of everything that has to be done to ensure HIPAA compliance.
Simple processes have to be identified, such as ensuring that other
patients cannot overhear nurses or doctors discussing a patient's case. The use of open tannoys or
intercoms to deliver patient-specific information, or emails being left open on computer screens.
Even the locking systems used for rooms or cabinets holding patient records will be
You will find it significantly easier to ensure initial compliance,
and then manage your HIPAA procedures, by using a software package designed to take all the hard
work and expense out of complying.
Why Interactive HIPAA?
Interactive HIPAA is an office system and software package designed
to take you step by step through the HIPAA compliance process. Without some form of help you will
be totally bogged down by the detail involved in HIPAA compliance, such as how to prevent faxes or
emails from being read by the wrong people.
By dividing the compliance process into 20 separate modules,
Interactive HIPAA will enable you to tackle the problem in a stepwise fashion, each step leading
logically onto the next. The software will enable you to understand the language used in the
regulations, and adapt that to suit your own organization so it is more easily understood and
accurately applies to the way your facility is organized.
Ultimately, you will be in a position to print out two compliance
manuals, customized to your organization, and leaving nothing out for official external auditors to
catch you out on. Your Compliance Verification Report will help you to verify your HIPAA
Without this type of software HIPAA compliance can be a nightmare,
and many organizations have spent a fortune employing external contractors to carry out the
compliance work for them. While HIPAA is complex, it is nevertheless sufficiently logical for
compliance to be software driven.
The Quick Start Guide gives you an overview and a rapid means of
getting started. You will be provided with more than 40 procedural forms and logs to ensure that
you are covering absolutely everything needed for HIPAA compliance. Not only that, but you will
receive free updates for a year, and any HIPAA amendments made will provided to you immediately
they are passed as part of an update.
compliance is a legal necessity, and whether or not you comply with the HIPAA privacy
regulations after you have done all the hard work will rest on an external audit of your systems
- you cannot afford to fail. The fastest and most effective way of ensuring that your office is
100% HIPAA compliant is to use Interactive HIPAA.