HIPAA training is a must for organizations that fall under the purview of HIPAA. If even one member of your team doesn't have a clear understanding of the rules and regulations outlined in HIPAA, it could end up costing your organization money in the form of fines and trust in the form of your brand image (which can be hard to get back).

According to the HIPAA journal, 12 areas should be included in your HIPAA training. Those 12 are:

  • What is HIPAA
  • Why HIPAA is Important
  • HIPAA Definitions
  • Patients' Rights
  • HIPAA Privacy Rule
  • Disclosures of PHI
  • Breach Notifications
  • Business Associate Agreements
  • HIPAA Security Rule
  • Safeguarding ePHI
  • Potential Violations
  • Employee Sanctions

In this post, we'll be focusing on 5 of the most crucial HIPAA training requirements within that list. First up, what is HIPAA?

What is HIPAA (And Why it Matters)

If your team doesn't have a full understanding of what HIPAA is and why it is such an important factor for their jobs, then mistakes are likely going to be made down the road. So, when it comes to the 'what,' make sure to clearly articulate that HIPAA is an important piece of legislation that helps to prevent healthcare fraud and ensure that all priced health information is secure and to restrict access to health data to authorized individuals only.

When addressing the 'why,' speak on HIPAA's influence in streamlining administrative healthcare functions, improving efficiency in the healthcare industry, and ensuring protected health information is shared securely.

The Privacy Rule

The HIPAA Privacy Rule is one of the key features of HIPAA. It establishes national standards to protect individuals’ medical records and other personal health information and applies to health plans, health care clearinghouses, and those health care providers that conduct certain health care transactions electronically.

The key features of the Rule include:

  • The requirement for appropriate safeguards to protect the privacy of personal health information
  • Setting limits and conditions on the uses that may be made of such information with authorization from the patient
  • Gives patients rights over their health information (rights examine and obtain a copy of their health records, request corrections, etc.)

The Security Rule

The Security Rule outlined in HIPAA essentially outlines the proper ways to carry out the Privacy Rule, including requiring physicians to protect patients' electronically stores, protected health information (ePHI) through appropriate physical, technical, and administrative safeguards. This rule is an effort to ensure the confidentiality and security of patient information.

The Breach Notification Rule

The Breach Notification Rule requires that all entities covered under HIPAA must notify affected individuals, the United States Department of Health and Human Services, and — in some cases — the media if a breach of unsecured PHI has occurred.

These notifications usually need to be provided without delay and typically no later than 60 days following the initial breach discover. The Breach Notification Rule also requires business associates of covered entities to notify the covered entity of breaches at or by the business associate.

The Business Associate Agreement

A business associate — when it comes to HIPAA — is any individual or entity that performs functions or activities on behalf of a covered entity that requires the business associate to access PHI is considered a business associate. Because that individual or entity will be working with private health information, they too need to make sure they are taking good care of said information.

The business associate agreement is precisely that — a contract to ensure that an outside entity that is working with a HIPAA covered organization still follows the rules and guidelines that HIPAA puts forth. The agreement must describe permitted, and required PHI uses for the business associate, and also state that the business associate “will not use or further disclose the protected health information other than as permitted or required by the contract or as required by law.”

Contact Medicus IT Today For Assistance in HIPAA Training

Obviously, these are all brief summations of each of these HIPAA training requirement topics. If you're looking for a more in-depth and comprehensive detailing of what your HIPAA training should look like, then contact Medicus IT today! Our team has extensive healthcare-specific IT experience and provides ongoing training so that you can rest easy knowing that our engineers are helping your practice maintain HIPAA compliance.

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